Book review: New Life For Health: The Comissino on the NHS
- By: Andrew Coulton
Political and journalistic debate about the NHS is widespread at the moment. Waiting lists, “accountability,” and the role of the GMC spring to mind as having been thoroughly (although not always accurately) reported recently. One of the problems with subjects that become “issues of the moment” is that several words and phrases tend to become overused, and perhaps lose their meaning. “Accountability” and “public interest” become ends in themselves, rather than simple descriptions of part of a wider process. Do patients really go home from hospital saying, “Well, I'm in a lot of pain, but at least the doctors and nurses were all very accountable”?
The commission's report is full of such jargon. But perhaps this minor fault also makes it worth reading. To read this significant political paper is to acquaint oneself with the important principles sometimes hidden in overused phrases. But beyond that, this is a report by