Don Foster MP*

Government Health Reforms Are Half Baked

Commenting on the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords, Bath's MP, Don Foster, said:

"This Government always argues that the next reform in the Health Service will do the trick but then a few months later there's always another set of reforms contradictory to the previous ones.

Main Image"Foundation Hospitals, a key part of the Bill, has fundamental underlying problems. The basis for hospital selection is poor, the star ratings are arbitrary and there is evidence that the assessment process can be manipulated.

"Interim foundation trusts are likely to affect the viability of other hospitals in their area. They will be able to vary employment terms and conditions and draw staff away from non-foundation hospitals. Foundation trusts will compete with other trusts for resources and lead to even greater inequalities between hospitals.

"Rather than going down the Foundation hospital route, providers need to be freed from bureaucracy and central control. At the same time there should be an increase in democratic accountability where it really matters; with the commissioners and Primary Care Trusts.

"Foundation hospitals were nowhere in the Government's manifesto at the last election; there has been no consultation on them. The Government should scrap this half baked scheme of reform."

On plans for the new Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI), Don said,

"There is serious doubt whether this new body will be truly independent.

"There is a clause in the Bill which states that CHAI must follow the direction of the Secretary of State, and judge hospitals according to Government standards. Because CHAI has to obey Ministers, it is like the Government is looking at medical records.

"Patients must not lose confidence in the confidentiality of the system, otherwise they might hold back key information, damaging doctors' ability to diagnose and treat them.

"CHAI must be seen as an independent inspectorate, not as a creature of the Government."


This article published: 08/09/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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