|Sir George backs Right to Choose
3 Jul 2004
As the battle lines are drawn for the next general election, and the political focus switches to Britain’s front line public service, Sir Georg endorsed new policies announced by Conservatives to improve Hampshire's hospitals and make it easier for residents to get access to high quality health care.
Under the new Conservative policies, patients will be given the Right to Choose to go to any hospital they want in England. In addition, Conservatives will scrap all the central government targets imposed on local hospitals and GPs. Through being set free from this red-tape, health professionals will be able to respond to clinical rather than bureaucratic priorities. By expanding capacity by offering independent hospitals the right to supply to the NHS, waiting times will also be dramatically slashed back.
Sir George explained,
‘In our local hospitals like Andover, Winchester and Basingstoke, we rely more than ever on the hard work of doctors, nurses and NHS staff. They perform miracles every hour of the day. But everybody knows that the NHS is not as good as it could be. That’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the system. The NHS has to change.
‘Our proposals for a “Right to Choose” will mean that, for the first time ever, patients in North West Hampshire will be able to choose the hospital that suits their particular needs best, rather than being forced to accept the hospital that suits the Government best. It will mean that hospitals will have the freedom to determine their own future, to increase capacity and to develop the services patients need. It will enable GPs and patients with long-term illnesses to have greater control over the management of their healthcare.’
‘Conservatives want to put the patient first by giving them real choice, taking politicians and bureaucrats out of the running of the NHS. We will give doctors and nurses the freedom to do what they were trained to do, according to clinical priorities, not the Government’s. Let’s offer choice to everyone, not just those who can afford it.’
The full policy document and policy summary is available online at: http://www.righttochoose.com
The proposals, which apply to all of England, include:
The Right to Choose
• Every patient will be given the right to treatment at any NHS hospital in the country. Choice will be unrestricted and immediate.
• Every patient will have the right to treatment at any independent hospital that can treat patients at the standard NHS tariff.
• Patients who choose a more expensive hospital will receive half the NHS tariff, cutting the cost of private insurance and self-payment.
• The NHS will be given the resources to make the Right to Choose work. We will invest an extra £34 billion a year in the NHS by 2009-10 beyond the level of spending we inherit.
• Patients with long-term, chronic conditions will be given greater control over the management of their healthcare.
Freedom for Professionals
• Conservatives will free doctors and local managers to set their own priorities without Government interference, by scrapping all central targets imposed on hospitals.
• Hospitals will be freed from bureaucracy by scrapping the Star Rating system, and every hospitals will be given Foundation status – with real freedoms. Every hospital will be allowed to set its own employment policies and borrow money to invest in research, facilities and staff.
• GPs will be Free to refer their patients to any hospital that can treat them to required standards.
The Right to Supply
Conservatives will give independent healthcare providers the right to treat NHS patients, free of charge to the patients, if they can meet the NHS price and standards. If patients choose more expensive private care, they will be entitled to half the NHS cost.