Further to correspondence about the future of the NHS, expect to see Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg much in evidence as they power-sell the NHS reforms to us with their pretence that their concessions to date have reduced the radical competition that the Bill demands.
Two elements would help reassure British people. Firstly the Bill should keep the NHS within the “solidarity” criterion that gives some immunity from EU competition law. Secondly the Bill should introduce a fair delivery system so that it is not left to the media to spot postcode differences in health care standards. Ideally this would be a health equality ombudsman with powers to coerce, but maintenance of the present local authority powers would be better than the Bill’s requirement for competition backed only by the Care Quality Commission’s assurance of patient safety. Of course we should be safe when in PHS hands, but equal safety is not necessarily equal healing.