Keogh Predicts End Of NHS!

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SIR Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, says that the basic principles of the NHS, ‘free healthcare at the point of need’ must be challenged.

He told the Guardian yesterday, that the NHS is unaffordable and that its continuation as a publicly funded service through taxation, free at the point of need for all, may have to end.

‘The service risked becoming unaffordable and could see its entirely tax-funded status challenged,’ he said.

He proposed that the NHS needs ‘a complete transformation of the way it operates . . .’

This was because ‘the model of delivery and service that we have at the moment is not fit for the future. . .

‘If not, we will get to a place where the NHS becomes unaffordable and we will have to make some very difficult decisions which will get to the very heart of the principle of the NHS and its values.

‘This will open up a whole series of discussions about whether the NHS is fit for purpose, whether it’s affordable, and whether the compact with the citizen of free healthcare for all is sustainable in the longer term.’

He denied that there was a crisis in the NHS as manifested in the current situation with A&E departments all over the country unable to cope because of overcrowding. He said ‘The NHS is facing very difficult times.’

He then outlined some of the problems, including 10 minute appointment times with GPs, lack of district nurses, lack of beds in community hospitals, and poor support for mental health patients, which he said had contributed to ‘hospitals running out of beds’.

He proposed ‘far less reliance on hospitals’ and ‘an unprecedented shift of resources into GP surgeries’.

‘In the future, many patients will be able to get much more of their care, including diagnostic tests and an expanded range of treatments at their GP surgery to save them having to go to their local hospital.’

Bruce Keogh has launched a frontal attack on the NHS as a public service, free at the point of need.

He cannot admit the main cause of the crisis is the closure of 30 district general hospital A&Es and other acute services, with the loss of 23,000 beds in the last four years, the direct result of the government inspired ‘reconfiguration’.

Keogh is challenging the right to NHS free healthcare. He predicts: ‘We will get to a place where the NHS becomes unaffordable and we will have to make some very difficult decisions which will get to the very heart of the principle of the NHS and its values. This will open up a whole series of discussions about whether the NHS is fit for purpose, whether it’s affordable, and whether the compact with the citizen of free healthcare for all is sustainable in the longer term.’