Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The lie that the Tories are marketizing the NHS to "reduce costs" and make it "more efficient"

Tory plans to marketize the NHS are supposedly justified by data. E.g. data showing that when doctors are made independent financial agents free to buy services from whoever they like on behalf of patients, costs are driven down. But the truth is this is just another "private good, public bad" myth.

In particular, the evidence actually suggests that this kind of marketization is not a money saver. In fact the evidence strongly suggests that it's inefficient. As this research by McKinsey confirms. Go here for report in the Huffington post.

Of course Lansley must know all this. He's seen the evidence. Ben Goldacre has previously pointed it out how Lansley twists those facts and evidence to make his case.

Last week we saw that the government had overstated the failings of the NHS by using dodgy figures (to be precise, they used misleading static figures instead of time trends). We saw that the health secretary Andrew Lansley's repeated claim that his reforms are justified by evidence was untrue: the evidence doesn't show that his price-based competition improves outcomes (if anything it makes things worse); and the evidence also doesn't show that GP consortiums improve outcomes (unless you cherry-pick only the positive findings).

It's OK if your reforms aren't supported by existing evidence: you just shouldn't claim that they are.

Now Lansley's junior minister, Paul Burstow, has kindly responded via the Guardian's letters page, repeating the same mistakes again, only more clumsily. I find this, in all seriousness, genuinely frightening from a minister.


But Lansley continues to repeat the fib. Why?

My earlier post "My Plan to destroy the NHS".

2 comments:

Hugo said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/26/research-competition-improves-nhs
"Don't rubbish my research. Competition really does improve the NHS
Growing evidence suggests patient choice has helped lower death rates and raise productivity"

Ron Murphy said...

This is a consequence, in part, of past efficiencies:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b012402s/The_Reith_Lectures_Securing_Freedom_2011_Aung_San_Suu_Kyi_Liberty/

I know from friends and relatives who've been in hospital over the last few years that this story isn't unusual.