: February 13th, 2014

For more than 60 years Britons have relied on the NHS to keep us healthy, but now it seems sicker than many of its patients. In this new book, Donald Longmore, brings his diagnostic skill to bear. He poses the question: Can the NHS survive, or is its condition terminal?

He argues that the NHS is imminently threatened with destruction, it is the responsibility of someone who knows the NHS intimately and cares about it to diagnose what has gone wrong with it, “to tell it how it is” and to propose a practical course of action that could save it from destruction by uninformed political interference, resources being wasted on excessive, damaging and unnecessary bureaucracy, management instead of true leadership, and multiple predators who will gain from its demise.

Professor Donald Longmore is an expert in diagnosis, and in this book he applies his skills to the largest patient of all: the NHS itself.

The NHS, that once-noble organisation, which at first significantly increased our life expectancy by an average of 5.2 years, is now actually responsible, in some areas, for an increasing death rate and has been reduced to headline scandals and becoming the butt of cartoonists.

The sad thing is that the NHS may soon be no more. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have fought a health bill through Parliament, believing that it will improve the service and reduce the cost. It seemed that those who drafted the Health Bill could not come up with a worse structure – but they have. The NHS is the world’s fourth biggest employer with over 1.4 million staff. Of these just 617,500 work on the front line. This leaves an excess of 782,500. Who are they? What do they contribute to the nation’s health?

Applying medical diagnostic techniques, distinguishing between diseases you are born with and ones you get, it appears that the problem is the malignant new growth of bureaucrats following many politically-motivated reorganisations.

Urgent treatment is required. A doctor treating a patient knows that there are four possible outcomes: the patient can get better, stay the same, get worse, or die. So it is with the effects of the Health Bill. Each key element is examined to see if it will make the NHS better, stay the same, get worse or be handed over to the predatory private health organisations circling round, ready to pick off the lucrative bits. At stake is the future health of the nation, over 7% of our national wealth and electoral defeat or victory. A likely outcome of the drive to foster competition and license providers is multiple commercial medical contractors taking over the service, overseen ineffectually by an Ofhealth watch, like Ofcom or Ofgen.

The NHS was one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century and was envied as the best in the world. But successive governments have “reorganised” the service and the result is an unsustainable organisation.

Published by Blackwell. ISBN: 9781907629228. £23.00