A senior doctor has attacked the health secretary's plans to reform the NHS, saying the changes will lead to increased costs and more bureaucracy.
Professor Roger Boyle said the reforms proposed by Andrew Lansley threatened the future of "the best public service in the world".
Mr Boyle, who recently stepped down as the government's National Director of Heart Disease and Stroke, said the government should be looking to evolve rather than revolutionise the NHS and criticised Mr Lansley for disregarding the service's past successes.
He warned that private companies would put their shareholders before NHS users.
"We have already spent £1bn on redundancy payments. Is that value for money?", he told the Independent.
He added: "Competition means more providers, which means more contracts have to be placed which means transactional costs rise."
Health Minister Simon Burns said the plans had widespread support and would give "freedom and control" to doctors and nurses.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Patients definitely come first!" - Puvan Markandoo
"I agree with Professor Boyle, leave the NHS as it is but put a charge on all prescriptions, except for children and charge for those who have never contributed" - Name and address supplied
"Totally endorse Professor Boyle's comments. I have just retired after 39 years in the NHS and feel the proposed changes will affect the most vulnerable. Cost will be a priority rather than need" - Jan Powell, Ipswich
"I also totally agree with Professor Boyle. Healthcare should not be opened up for competition or to private providers, whose priorities are not the best care for patients but financial gain. Simon Burns' comment that his plans would give 'freedom and control' to doctors and nurses is a fallacy" - Gill Griffin, Cardiff
"I agree with Mr Boyle. I have TUPEd to a private company and am experiencing first hand how cost comes before care! Perhaps the focus should be on the amount of people allowed into this country who have never contributed a penny but are allowed free NHS care, allong with housing etc" - Name and address supplied
"Absolutely agree with Professor Boyle, I have worked in the NHS for 35 years and adore the way it cares for people when they are vulnerable. The NHS is envied all over the world and it is gradually being sabotaged and they only people that will pay the price are patients when they most need care" - Theresa Mulroy, UK
"I concur with the comments below. The vulnerability of the NHS is increased by bureacracy and private interference and the patients at its heart suffer. I appreciate that the economics of care is a fine balancing act but best care and compassion shouldn't have a price ticket" - L Tomlins, Bolton
"I totally agree with Professor Boyle. Other services have already been privatised and where they have been there has been a deterioration in the service provided. Patients must come first, not shareholders or private companies. In some areas it is a complete maize trying to locate the service required, this will only become more confusing if the competition increases and forces more private companies to complete for services" - Anne Cochrane, Glasgow
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