In a city with just over seven million inhabitants, a sizeable healthcare network which functions flawlessly (or as closely as humanly possible) is a necessity for just about everyone in London. However, much-needed reforms to NHS London, the now-defunct citywide health authority were scrapped in 2010 and may never see the light of day.
The person behind the scrapping of a review into the way the NHS worked in the capital, the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, divided opinion as his move had two major implications. On the one hand, it meant that several A&E departments earmarked for closure were saved, but on the other, key reforms seen as vital to improving overall care for patients were swept aside.
Due to dissatisfaction with the move by Mr Lansley, many doctors and people in management positions within NHS London had considered their futures. Not long after the move, which came shortly after Mr Lansley was appointed to his new post, former chair Sir Richard Sykes, who previously worked for GlaxoSmithKline in a similar job, had resigned from his role.
Aside from the closure of some A&E departments, another proposal from former Health Minister Lord Darzi pushed the idea of ‘super surgeries’, which would partially take on the role vacated by closed A&E departments. Given their absence and a combined £5bn deficit for London’s health service, patients could be the ones most likely to lose out.
Economic benefits ignored
Patients who might visit the First4Lawyers resource hub for information would have benefitted greatly from the construction of super surgeries, especially if access to their nearest hospital is limited for some reason. The wider economy could have benefitted too in terms of job creation, especially at a time when the financial legacy of last year’s Olympic Games has faded.
Each super surgery would require a whole team of builders for the construction process from start to finish, which would have created at least some temporary roles. Once complete, each surgery will have a number of vacancies to fill, which would instantly mean more permanent roles for people out of work and medical graduates to apply for.
In the meantime, a new review was published by Imperial College, but it wasn’t quite as far-reaching in coming up with solutions to the problems the NHs in London is currently facing. The dual issues of tackling the deficit and trying to deliver improved care for all patients are proving to be tough.