Specialists’ fears over healthcare Bill

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FIVE specialists in public health in Sheffield have signed a letter to the House of Lords asking them to reject legislation that would “do irreparable harm” to the health service.

The Health and Social Care Bill aims to give more power and choice to GPs and patients by reducing management and opening up more services to private companies.

But the plans were opposed in a letter signed by 400 doctors and professors across the country.

Dr Eleanor Rutter, a specialist registrar in Sheffield who examined the Government’s proposals on behalf of the city’s primary care trust, said: “I do not know one health professional who supports this Bill. I have worked in the NHS now for nearly 20 years now, first as a hospital doctor and more recently in public health.

“My observation has always been that patients’ needs are best met when services work as closely together as possible.

“Opening up healthcare to ‘any qualified provider’ will inevitably lead to fragmentation of current services with large numbers of smaller providers offering different services. The continuity and co-ordination – vital for safe, high-quality care – will be lost.”

However, Dr Rutter added: “Whilst I have great fears regarding the impact of this Bill on the health and healthcare of people in Sheffield, I will endeavour to work hard in any system to do whatever I can to help to improve the health of the people in Sheffield.”

Sheffield signatories also included consultant Fiona Day, acting consultant Ben Anderson, specialist registrar Subhashis Basu and University of Sheffield Professor of Human Geography, Danny Dorling.