NHS news is dominated by the British Medical Association (BMA) representing doctors calling for the Bill to destroy the NHS to be abandoned entirely. Unite health worker members believe that the NHS is going to be privatised for the benefit of private companies. Nick Clegg and Labour’s John Healey are to make speeches on the NHS today,
- 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.
Nearly 90 per cent of Unite health sector members have ‘no confidence’ in the coalition’s handling of the NHS ‘reforms’, a new survey has revealed.
The massive vote of ‘no confidence’ from Unite – which has 100,000 members in the health service – comes as the coalition’s ‘listening exercise’ on the Health and Social Care Bill draws to a close.
The snapshot survey of specified professional groups represented by Unite also revealed that two-thirds said that they had seen the treatment and care of patients/service users reduced or rationed in the last six months.
Unite Head of Health, Rachael Maskell said: ‘Those working in the NHS have no confidence that the universal service that they have dedicated their working lives to is safe in Tory hands – they fear that it is going to be privatised and broken up for the benefit of profiteering private healthcare companies. No matter how it is dressed up.’
Nick Clegg will seek to maximise the Liberal Democrats’ influence over the imminent changes to the government’s NHS plans with a major speech on Thursday setting out his party’s demands.
The deputy prime minister will outline the substantial revisions he expects to see made to the health and social care bill to ensure that his MPs feel able to support it when it returns to parliament.
He will also make clear why the NHS needs reform. Party sources say it will echo a keynote speech last week by David Cameron and endorse the prime minister’s view that, although some of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s proposals will be rethought, the service in England will still be expected to embrace far-reaching changes so it can cope with growing financial and clinical pressures.
John Healey, shadow health secretary, will accuse Cameron of refusing to amend the bill enough to ensure that it does not harm healthcare. “David Cameron is a PR man looking for a PR answer.
In its response to the government’s listening exercise, the BMA said it is vital for the future of the NHS that the Bill is withdrawn, or ‘changed significantly’.
The BMA demanded a number of changes to the proposals, including putting an ‘explicit duty’ on commissioning consortia to involve doctors in secondary care, public health and academia.
It said: ‘The existing duty in the Bill on commissioning consortia to “obtain appropriate advice” is insufficient to ensure that the best clinical practice is enshrined in commissioning.
‘Clear guidance should be developed on models for how this can be achieved in practice, such as by developing clinical networks alongside the strategic and decision-making functions of commissioners.’
The BMA also called for economic regulator Monitor’s primary role to be amended to protecting and promoting high quality, integrated healthcare services, not promoting competition.
The government’s health plans for the NHS in England need changing so much that the entire bill may need to be withdrawn, doctors say.
The British Medical Association called for a series of changes as part of its submission to the listening exercise.
In particular, the union has demanded the duty on the regulator to promote competition be dropped, something other critics have called for.