Recent NHS news articles
- the reforms to NHS ‘reforms’ are merely cosmetic and that the intention to destroy the NHS remains
- doctors are the most trusted profession but that this is at risk from proposed changes to the NHS
- some Liberal-Democrats realise that the reformed NHS ‘reforms’ do not satisfy the demands of the Spring conference
- doctors prefer working in Wales due to the Welsh Assembly retaining a more traditional NHS
- the British Medical Journal calls on the government to abandon it’s Destroy the NHS Bill.
- 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.
ANDREW Lansley has been accused of making only cosmetic changes to his NHS proposals as documents showed he was pressing ahead with privatisation.
The Health Secretary yesterday published 181 amendments to the botched Health and Social Care Bill, following an outcry from nurses and doctors.
But the changes do not alter Government plans for private firms to take over huge swathes of the NHS.
Critics were angry that health experts have just two days to look at the proposals before a Commons vote.
In particular, ministers seem to have backtracked on pledges to beef up the NHS watchdog Monitor, intended to rein in competition.
Opponents said health bosses could in future claim they were using private firms “in patients’ interests”.
Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: “Plans to break up the NHS remain.”
Doctors have come out on top again when it comes to occupations that the public trust – but the BMA chairman has warned that this trust could be put at risk in the future by the Government’s health reforms.
An Ipsos MORI survey of 1,026 people found that 88% trusted doctors to tell the truth, with the profession beating 20 other professions on honesty, including judges, clergyman and priests, and the police. Just 8% of respondents felt doctors did not tell the truth, and 4% said they did not know.
Doctors also placed number one in the same poll in 2009 and 2010.
The results came as BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum warned that the current high levels of trust that existed could be severely tested by the Government’s NHS reforms.
Speaking ahead of the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting next week, Dr Meldrum said that retaining the current trust would ‘be key to getting through the challenges we face over the next few years’.
‘There is a danger that this trust could be put at risk by some of the Government’s plans,’ he said.
‘Doctors will have a greater role in planning and shaping health services and having a greater say about what is best for patients.’
‘But this will only work if it is a shared responsibility and the Government must be truthful about its intentions for the NHS and its future.’
UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union, is warning that the government is encouraging staff to risk their jobs and patient services by encouraging them to set up social enterprise schemes in the NHS.
A National Audit office report into establishing social enterprises under the old ‘ Right to Request scheme’, found little hard evidence of the benefits of the scheme. However, the Government is planning to forge ahead and replicate it as – the ‘Right to Provide’ programme, risking patient services in the process.
Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:
“The government is setting these enterprises up to fail. As fledgling organisations they will have to try and compete on an open market with private companies under its ‘Any Qualified Provider scheme’ – there is no offer or assurances about levels of business. The result will be either the collapse of services and jobs, or transfer into the private sector, with patients shunted from one provider to the next”.
“The government needs to take stock of this report and do some proper analysis of their programmes before they damage the NHS irreparably.”
In a leaked email the former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, who has led the charge against the original Andrew Lansley blueprint, has condemned the revised plans as “bad”.
This is what Harris wrote in the email, part of an email chain seen by the Guardian:
There is a view that we should keep quiet, say we had a victory and hope no-one notices this stuff – but I think that is not realistic. The plans remain bad for the NHS, go beyond the coalition agreement and we must insist on sovreignty (sic) of conference on major issues not in the CA [coalition agreement].
Harris has already indicated publicly that he is not happy with the revised plans which were launched by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Andrew Lansley at Guy’s Hospital on 14 June. On 18 June Harris told the Guardian there were “new threats” hidden within the reworked NHS.
NHS chiefs are at risk of making “slash and burn” cuts to services in a drive to save money, doctors’ leaders say.
British Medical Association chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said he was concerned about the impact across the whole UK.
Reports have emerged of restrictions on a range of “low priority” treatments, while waiting times are under pressure.
The NHS Confederation, which represents health managers, agreed that any cost-saving measures must be well-thought through.
Speaking ahead of the union’s annual conference, which starts later, Dr Meldrum said there needed to be more transparency and debate about cuts.
Doctors in Wales say today they are “happy” to be working in Wales rather than across the border because of proposed changes to the NHS in England.
In a survey of more than 5,000 doctors in Wales, 86% told the British Medical Association Cymru they are “glad” to be working here.
And in an endorsement of the radical reforms to the health service in Wales two years ago, eight out of 10 doctors said successive Welsh governments have been right to seek to remove the internal market and competition from the NHS.
The Welsh Government has reaffirmed its commitment to uphold Aneurin Bevan’s founding principles for the NHS and maintain a health service free from market forces.
This is in stark contrast to the NHS in England and the proposals put forward by the UK coalition government.
The influential British Medical Journal has called on the government to abandon its healthcare reform bill, which it says has not been improved by the recent amendments.
The BMJ’s deputy editor Dr Tony Delamothe and editor Dr Fiona Godlee have made a scathing attack on the reforms and the changes agreed via the Future Forum.
Their editorial published today on BMJ.com states: “it would be better for the NHS, the government, and the people of England to sweep [the amended Health and Social Care Bill’s] mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on.”
Dr Delamothe and Dr Godlee say the Future Forum recommendations will add further layers of bureaucracy to the health service and would leave “the NHS with a similar proportion of bureaucrats to the Austro-Hungarian empire on the eve of the first world war—and about as flat footed”.
The authors argue that the most important problem facing the health service is the need to make £20 billion of efficiency savings over the next four years and this urgent issue is not being addressed. And they question, as they have done in previous BMJ editorials: “What is the rationale for the changes proposed in the bill?”