One of the foremost experts on health policy in Britain has suggested that the Conservative government is largely unconcerned about the future of the healthcare system, and any debate regarding it, owing to the overwhelming likelihood that the party will win the forthcoming general election.
Indeed, most observers believe that Prime Minister Theresa May has called the election purely due to the lack of convincing opposition to her leadership.
The Conservative party is currently around 20 points ahead in the polls, which if translated into real-world results will produce a massive majority.
And former GP Dr Phil Hammond, who covers health policy for the magazine Private Eye, has stated that ministers are currently very relaxed about the position of the NHS as they believe that there is no chance of the Tories losing the election.
Hammond also believes that plans to create large-scale accountable care organisations with the intention of running health and social care services will lead to all GPs becoming salaried employees in the future.
The writer suggested that a sources close to Jeremy Hunt had provided some of the information of which he spoke, and told the annual conference of Londonwide LMCs that the Conservative party is relaxed on the NHS due to the lack of an effective opposition party.
“They don’t believe that Labour is electable. They are very relaxed about the state of the NHS, very relaxed about the queues in casualty, waiting lists going up again, and the disaster in general practice, because they don’t believe Labour offers a credible opposition.”
But the former GPs certainly didn’t view this as a positive situation, scathingly suggesting that the Conservative government essentially viewed the National Health Service as a service for poorer people.
Hammond suggested that the Tories want those who can afford it to take out private medical insurance, with the intention of reducing the workload for the publicly-funded healthcare system.
“They want private companies to do as much NHS work as possible. And they want the NHS to be allowed to do as much private work as it wants to do. That is their ideology and agenda and they don’t believe there is an opposition fighting that.”
And the credentialed individual also suggested that as the drive for accountable care systems continues, the threat of all GPs becoming salaried employees is only too real.
“The NHS is keen to move to a model of accountable care organisations where we unify primary, secondary care, social care. Ultimately this will make all GPs salaried and working for large accountable care organisation in a particular area.”
Should Hammond’s assertions come to fruition, they would obviously fundamentally change the way that the NHS system operates.
The contributor to Private Eye was one of the first journalists to expose the Bristol babies heart scandal in the 1990s.