The NHS Confederation will announce today that by 2011 there will be a major shortfall in NHS funding leading to a crisis in the provision of care. The Confederation are concerned that the NHS will not survive unchanged.
Well I hope they are right! As I have blogged before here and here, the NHS is not doing the best for its patients now with the historically high amount of funding received since Labour came to power in 1997.
The unions are apparently up in arms as they fear more use of the private sector in health care provision. The time has come for the unions, such as the Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association and Unison, to wake up. For more than sixty years the NHS has tried and failed to provide uniform health care for all, and it has failed. Now is the time for the independent sector to increase its involvement in health care provision.
Andy Burnham must not give in to pressure from the unions. He must push through vital reforms that will be good for health care. It must also be recognised that that will not necessarily be good for the NHS. The NHS is an out-dated institution that has had its chance and failed, it is now crying out for reform. The next few years might just be the right opportunity for a determined and right thinking Secretary of State for Health to push these reforms through.