NHS news review

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The UK Con-Dem – Conservative and Liberal-Democrat – coalition government have paused progress of the controversial health bill intended to abolish the NHS.

Nick Clegg – the discredited leader of the Liberal-Democrats who claims that he can’t remember that he was a Tory at University – has pledged to listen to ‘legitimate’ concerns about the bill. His words are very measured and unconvincing. I object to GPs being given unaccountable power to move money around from one pocket to the other BTW.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband made an unsubstantive speech. The Labour Party was very slow to show it’s opposition to the bill and it’s worth pondering on whether they actually oppose it.

Looks like you get a different shade of blue whoever you vote for.

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

New Statesman – NHS reforms: a lesson in how not to do it

“It all seems slightly dramatic to me, but I tend to hope that Lansley knows what he’s doing,” sums up what friends in the Conservative Party have said to me about the NHS reforms over the past few months.

This remains the danger within any government: to assume someone else is getting on with it and knows what they are doing. I remember a friend in the Labour Party once saying to me, as we debated during the lead up to the Iraq War, “The thing is I trust Tony. I assume he knows what he is doing.” Well the rest, as they say, is history.

Within government, within Cabinet, everything should be challenged and nothing assumed.

We must change NHS to protect it, says Ed Miliband | Society | guardian.co.uk

Ed Miliband has set out the three principles a Labour government would bring to reforming the NHS, telling party members the “status quo” is not enough.

The Labour leader said that “to protect the NHS we need to change it”, and offered the coalition support in changing the NHS if they met the principles.

He said he came to the debate as a “reformer”, adding: “A reformer of the state as well as the market”.

New Statesman – Full Transcript | Ed Miliband | RSA Future of the NHS Speech | 4 April 2011

UNISON News | The public service union | ‘It’s our future and it’s not for sale’

(04/04/11) “Let’s send a message to this government loud and clear: the NHS is our future and it’s not for sale.”

That was the rousing welcome UNISON health delegates received from service group executive chair Lilian Macer when she opened the union’s health conference in Liverpool this morning.

Recalling that the last time conference met, before the general election, “we were concerned, fearful, at the prospect of a Tory government. But few of us thought we’d be fighting on so many fronts, so early, with so much at stake.”

NHS reforms: Lansley agrees to change health bill | Society | guardian.co.uk

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, has acknowledged that people have “genuine” concerns about his reforms to the NHS as he announced that the government would table amendments to the bill.

Amid fears in Downing Street that Lansley has failed to explain the thinking behind his reforms, the health secretary said he would use a “natural break in the passage of the bill” to offer reassurances that the government’s sole intention is to improve the NHS.

Leading article: Revolution finally gives way to pragmatism – Leading Articles, Opinion – The Independent

The Coalition’s revolutionaries appear to have gone into reverse. In recent months we have had a comprehensive retreat from the Government on its forests policy, embarrassing disarray on tuition fees, and now ministers are signalling a change of course on their NHS reforms. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have promised a “listening exercise” on the Coalition’s health service plans. Action is out and consultation is in. Ideology has given way to pragmatism.

It remains to be seen whether this is a prelude to a watering-down of the Health and Social Care Bill, or merely an attempt to sell the reforms better. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, insisted in the House of Commons yesterday that the substance of the Bill will still be implemented. But it is clear that the Government is determined to ditch the revolutionary posture – “Maoist”, as Vince Cable memorably put it – adopted in the early months of the Coalition.

This change of approach on health, in particular, has a profound political significance. The NHS was one of the pillars of David Cameron’s modernisation of the Conservative Party. The Government’s ring-fencing of the health budget from the cuts imposed across the rest of the public sector was intended to demonstrate to the public that the Tories could be trusted with the NHS. But now Downing Street has woken up to the fact that the old suspicions about Conservative attitude to the public provision of healthcare are still very much alive. The medical profession has been uniformly critical of the Government’s health Bill and the general public is increasingly alarmed. Mr Cameron is pushing the pause button because he realises the seriousness of the threat to his project of detoxifying the Tory brand.

Anger over plan to close small maternity units – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

Small NHS maternity units face closure to improve safety standards and help economies across the health service.

Experts said yesterday that those maternity units lacking access to specialist expertise should be closed to protect the lives of mothers and babies – although such closures will mean some expectant mothers having to travel further to give birth.

Responding to yesterday’s investigation by The Independent into the crisis in maternity care, Nigel Edwards, the acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, representing NHS trusts, said: “There is a broad consensus that there needs to be a substantial change in the provision of maternity services involving the downgrading or closure of smaller units to provide safer services. The changes are necessary in order to have appropriate consultant cover but it is important they are not seen as a cost-saving measure, though they may prevent trusts spending more.”

BBC News – GPs ‘should not get sole control of NHS budget’

MPs have heaped more pressure on the government for its overhaul of the NHS in England by suggesting GPs should not be allowed to take control of the budget all by themselves.

The House of Commons’ health committee said they should be joined by a range of staff including nurses and hospital doctors to decide how funds are spent.

The move would improve accountability and decision-making, the MPs said.

It came as ministers plan a new push to convince people of the need for change.

NHS reform plans to be re-examined

The Government’s controversial NHS reforms are to be re-examined after the Health Secretary admitted some groups had “genuine concerns” about the plans, including the speed of the changes.

In the face of mounting opposition, Andrew Lansley was forced to make a Commons statement on Monday defending aspects of the Health and Social Care Bill, which completed its committee stage last week.

He said the Government would take the opportunity of a “natural break” in the passage of the Bill to “pause, listen and engage” over the concerns and bring forward amendments to “improve the plans further”.

Clegg pledge over NHS shake-up concerns – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised to address concerns over the Government’s controversial NHS reforms as MPs called for “significant changes” to the plans.

The cross-party Commons Health Committee urged a rethink of the proposals, with former Tory health secretary and committee chairman Stephen Dorrell saying it is not a case of merely recommending “minor tweaking” of the Health and Social Care Bill.

One of the points the committee stressed is that GPs should not be solely in charge of commissioning services for patients. However, Mr Clegg said he believed it was an “uncontroversial idea” to hand them more responsibility.

Reform of NHS ignites rebellion (From The Northern Echo)

THE flagship NHS shake-up is savaged by a Tory-led committee of MPs today – just hours after the government was forced to slam the brakes on its progress, to calm public fears.

Key aspects of the Health and Social Care Bill are torpedoed by the Commons health select committee, which warns of lax controls over £60bn of taxpayers’ cash and the risk of free-market competition harming care.

The damning report comes after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced a “natural break” in the Bill’s passage, to allow ministers to “pause, listen and engage”, to counter a rising tide of criticism.

Health Bill – must be no way back for coalition’s destructive NHS plan

Reacting to the publication today (Tuesday) of the report by the influential cross-party health select committee, Unite the union said that the coalition’s chaotic changes to the NHS are now so widely reviled they cannot be saved by the government.

The select committee has warned that the forthcoming changes lack accountability and that the secretary of state cannot abandon his role as the politician responsible for the performance of the health service. It also warns that the new system of GPs taking charge of both purchasing and providing care could result in serious conflicts of interest. The report is the latest in a long line of criticism of the government’s health and social care bill.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary said: “The committtee raises profound questions about the government’s competence when it comes to the NHS. It rightly warns that massive £20 billion cuts to health spending at a time of rising care demands is a fundamental challenge to the NHS’s operations. To then pile a chaotic, bureaucratic restructuring of the service on top of massive cuts can only be regarded as irresponsible. Far from improving our NHS this government is setting it on the road to certain ruin – and privatisation.


27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

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