Joining us were:

Dr Jacky Davisconsultant radiologist and co-editor of NHS SOS

Dr Christoph Lees, obstetrics consultant and founding member of the Civitas Doctors' Policy Research Group

Gwyn Bevan, professor of Policy Analysis at the LSE


The outgoing head of the NHS Sir David Nicholson told a health select committee that "privatisation and competition were not proving to be a success". Was he right or is it too soon to judge?

Dr Christoph Lees: "It's very difficult because we're left wondering exactly what's being privatised. The way that privatisation has tended to work over the last 10 years is probably not the right way of using the private sector. NHS funds have been used up to have patients treated in the private sector."

Dr Jacky Davis: "The wheels are coming off really quickly. It is privatisation. Twenty-two out of the last 24 big contracts went to the private sector. The whole principle of health care is for people to work together for the good of the patient, so what you've got now is i a field day for competition lawyers.

"Is it too late? It's not, there are some very basic things that can happen now, there's a big chunk of the NHS still to defend and we must do that, but some things have to happen quickly."

Gwyn Bevan: "We've been trying provider competition for a very long time and there's very little evidence that it works. The so-called purchasers or commissioners have never worked well. One of the reasons they don't work very well is that they keep on being re-organised. The coalition government promised there would be no more top-down re-organisations of the NHS and David Nicholson described the one that's happened as 'so big that you could see it from Space'."

(Voice of Russia)