Put that the Prime Minister had said this morning that there was a long list of organisations within the NHS that supported his reforms, the PMS said that the point the Prime Minister had been making was that there was a debate going on, which was what you would expect when changes to the NHS had been announced. Certain people agreed with the proposals and others didn’t, but we were clear that our proposals were the right ones and the Prime Minister had been out and about this morning putting the case to people.
Asked if the Prime Minister accepted the concerns from some GPs that this might not be the best time to make changes, the PMS said that the Prime Minister would accept that there were people on both sides of the argument. We wouldn’t accept that it wasn’t the best time to implement these reforms, for the reasons the Prime Minister had set out this morning. We thought that the system of a health service that provided care free at the point of use was under threat if we didn’t deal with the problems we were facing. There was not the option of throwing money at this, and there were great pressures coming down the line.
Asked to explain the Prime Minister’s comments that if things didn’t change the NHS would no longer be free, the PMS said that in recent years we had seen a health service that was experiencing very large real-term increases in spending year on year. The long-term trends in health care were an aging population and the increasing cost of drugs and medical treatments, all of which would generate pressures in the future. We didn’t have the option of investing 5% real-term increases every year, year in, year out. Therefore if we wanted to maintain the current system we had to find a more efficient way of doing things.
Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news
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