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Will the new NHS pass the test? - Clinical Negligence specialist Paul Sankey deliberates

So the bill has finally been passed and the world’s best national healthcare system is about to undergo major surgery. But how will the patient get on? Kill or cure? Or a slump into paralysis?
 
Here are 3 tests for what a better healthcare system would look like. Will it pass?
 
1. Patients at the centre. It may be obvious but the priority of any good healthcare system must be the welfare of its patients. That is to say that they are able to receive care when they need it, that the care is of good quality and that they are treated as people should be. Not consumers. Not customers. Not ‘muppets’ (Goldman Sachs stay clear please). People.
 
2. Money must be spent efficiently and properly. Healthcare is expensive. All big organisations struggle with inefficiencies. The government believes the key to efficiency is the profit motive. We will see. The drive for profit may drive down wages and drive down standards, diverting money away from patient-care to the bank accounts of shareholders.
 
3. The system must work. One real concern is that increasing fragmentation of healthcare will mean more cases of patients falling through the system and they are transferred from one provider to another, no one taking overall responsibility. This is already a problem as patients are shunted from hospital to ‘treatment centres’ to private hospitals on waiting list initiatives or as the buck is passed from one PCT (who does not want to pay) to another.
 
A 4th test for me as a lawyer for the victims of negligent care is whether we will see less unacceptable care causing avoidable injury. Frankly I doubt it. But as the government also wants to make it harder for accident victims to obtain justice I fear something of a double-whammy: more medical negligence and less redress for the victims in the form of Medical Negligence Claims.

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