NHS reforms won’t fail because they are too radical, but because they are not radical enough

Mark Littlewood calls on the government to embrace reform

Ahead of David Cameron’s speech on NHS reform today, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, says that the government needs to be far more radical when it comes to reforming healthcare.

“The current model for providing healthcare in this country is failing. Compared to other systems in developed countries, it lags behind in terms of mortality rates, cancer survival rates, stroke outcomes and heart disease. Sticking with the status quo is not an option; but neither is tweaking a fundamentally flawed model.

“The idea that the NHS is delivering a decent level of healthcare is wholly misguided. Only when patients are treated as customers, and when competing healthcare businesses can vie for their custom, will we see standards rise, waiting times fall and healthcare outcomes improve. Other developed countries have successfully adopted systems whereby people are responsible for their own healthcare funding and where – crucially – the state can still underwrite the healthcare costs of the poor and most vulnerable.

“David Cameron says he loves the NHS. This might well be true. But if he wants the people of this country to have a healthcare system that responds to their needs and provides an adequate level of care then he needs to reject the status quo and show the courage to embrace radical reform.”

 

To arrange an interview with Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General, please contact Nick Hayns, Communications Officer,  020 7799 8900, nhayns@iea.org.uk

 

Notes to editors

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties

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