Alan Johnson to review Healthcare

The Telegraph is not impressed by the review of the NHS that the new Health Secretary Alan Johnson has launched:

"The "once-in-a-generation review" he launched yesterday, to be undertaken by the distinguished surgeon Sir Ara Darzi, now a health minister, appears to be aimed at soothing the ruffled feathers of health professionals. It carries an unmistakable hint of surrender.

Mr Johnson said there would be no more structural change while Sir Ara's review, a leisurely affair that is not expected to conclude until some time next year, attempts to formulate a "vision" for a 21st century NHS. Has the Labour Government spent the past decade lavishing billions on healthcare without having a "vision" of what it was trying to achieve? Apparently so.

The Darzi review's focus on producers rather than consumers of healthcare does not augur well for patients who are rightly aggrieved at the modest scale of improvement in health provision under Labour. The last prime minister had, we believe, grasped the essential truth that the NHS should be run for the convenience of patients, not the medical professionals. This review seems to mark a lurch back to the bad old days."
The TaxPayers' Alliance Better Government report contains some facts that should be sufficient for politicians to realise that a review is not necessary to realise that the NHS is in need of serious reform:
British spending on health care has reached the OECD average of 8.9% of GDP.  Yet,
    • The British Medical Journal ranked the NHS one from bottom on the quality of healthcare provided;
    • The British Medical Journal ranked the NHS bottom on mortality amenable to healthcare;
    • The National Audit Office in 2000 ranked the NHS worst on hospital acquired infections.  It estimated that at least 100,000 patients are affected resulting in at least 5,000 deaths a year;
    • A recent EU study found that NHS patients are up to 40 times more likely than other Europeans to contract infections in hospital.
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