The government should stop treating the NHS in England like a “failing business or bank”, an influential journal says.
In recent weeks, ministers have announced a bailout for A&E, the introduction of a price comparison website and talked of cost-cutting.
An editorial in the Lancet journal said such language was a “cynical” attempt to abdicate responsibility for the NHS.
The government said it was trying to improve services.
The journal also took issue with this year’s reorganisation of the NHS, saying responsibility had become too fragmented.
But its strongest comments were reserved for some of the more recent policy announcements.
It said: “One might be forgiven for thinking that the current Coalition Government views the NHS as a failing bank or business.
“This stance is one of the most cynical, and at the same time cunning, ways by which the government abdicates all responsibilities for running a health-care system that has patient care and safety at its heart.”