Not rational way to run health service

PUBLISHED: 09:31 10 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:34 24 May 2010

JOHN Penrose MP is right that we all need to work together across the political divide to secure additional funding for Weston Hospital and our local Primary Care Trust

JOHN Penrose MP is right that we all need to work together across the political divide to secure additional funding for Weston Hospital and our local Primary Care Trust. I stand shoulder to shoulder with him and others in that objective.However, he is wrong to say that further funding and organisational reforms, including so called 'Payments by Results', is the answer. It is precisely this constant revolution in the NHS prompted by politicians in London who think they know best what is causing the serious financial instability we have seen.Today we see Weston Hospital forced to battle against "competitor" hospitals in Taunton and Bristol, when surely it should be working with them as partners. All this to meet some centrally driven criteria and target which often bears no relevance to the priorities of local people. To move further in that direction and reinforce it through market-based mechanisms like Payment by Results is madness. At best it improves the financial situation of one hospital at the expense of another. At worst, the continuous fluctuation in funding that will result could leave trusts in a constant state of financial instability. The Government has significantly increased spending on the NHS, but has not ensured the extra cash was spent wisely. Large amounts have been wasted on reorganisation. This is not a rational way to run the health service. The last thing that is needed is more tinkering by well-meaning politicians from LondonMIKE BELL - Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Weston

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