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Shadow Health Secretary John Healey criticises the Destroy the NHS Bill as introducing … “more bureaucracy, more complex decision making and more wasted cost.”

Crapita complains about not getting enough business from intended and proposed NHS privatisation.

ConDems release plans to replace NHS trust management with private managers. There is an obvious danger here – that NHS trusts will be deemed to be failing so that they can be replaced by private managers. It’s the “failed states” scenario of international politics played out in the NHS.

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association warns of a perfect storm in the NHS.

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.

Government ‘learned little’ from Health Bill pause, says Labour | GPonline.com

Shadow health secretary John Healey said the changes to the Health Bill had been a ‘political fix’ designed to ‘buy off’ the widespread opposition to the NHS reform plans.

He said the closer people look at the amended Health Bill ‘the less they will like the changes’ and ‘the more concerned they will become’.

But he warned that the government is ‘railroading’ the Bill through parliament, allowing little time for scrutiny of the changes. He also raised concerns that only 64 of the 299 clauses are being sent back to the House of Commons for further debate by MPs.

‘The government has only allowed 10 scrutiny sessions… which means there will be around seven minutes for each amendment for scrutiny,’ he said.

Mr Healey meanwhile said that the cost of reorganisation is likely to rise as a result of the changes to the Health Bill.

He said: ‘The government is introducing more bureaucracy, more complex decision making and more wasted cost.

‘Commissioning, which is currently being done by PCT, will soon be split with at least five bodies.’

He also warned that the government is unlikely to carry out a new impact assessment of the updated Bill, meaning the NHS is being asked to implement a ‘far reaching set of changes’ without knowing the costs or the wider implications.

He said ‘Far from removing confusion and uncertainty in the NHS about the plans for the future, the government with its announcements and amendments is making that confusion and uncertainty greater.’

HealthInvestor – Article: NHS not making use of outsourcing partnerships, says Crapita’s Bryant

Delays to the government’s Health Bill and short-sighted policies in NHS trusts are holding back Crapita’s outsourcing operations in the sector, the company’s managing director for health has said.

Beverley Bryant, who joined Crapita last year after a stint at the Department of Health, said that despite the need to make huge efficiency savings under the government’s QIPP agenda, trusts were generally failing to reorganise their back office functions accordingly.

“Trusts are still working on their budgets on a year-by-year basis, when in reality if they want to make savings next year and the year after they are going to have to come out to market this year,” she told HealthInvestor.

“We’re trying to get the message across that if you centralise and streamline back office services across a number of NHS trusts, you can make big savings. But at the moment there aren’t many big projects doing that.”

Bryant also suggested that NHS bodies might not be “as used to the partnership approach to outsourcing as local authorities are”. But she added: “We’re confident that once a few start to do it, more will follow.”

Outrage over plan to use private managers in the NHS | Public Finance — official CIPFA magazine

Unions have reacted with fury to government plans to bring in private sector firms to run failing NHS trusts, while health service professionals have accused the Department of Health of recycling old failed policies.

In a June 4 document, Developing the NHS performance regime, health minister Ben Bradshaw set out plans for minimum standards of quality, safety and financial management.

Trusts failing to meet the standards – part of a performance management framework that will be distinct from the Healthcare Commission’s inspection regime – will be deemed to be ‘challenged’ and given a set timescale to improve.

Those that fail to lift their performance will have their management team replaced in one of three ways: by a fresh team of NHS managers; takeover by a foundation trust; or by the introduction of a private sector management team under contract.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, speaking at the BMA consultants’ conference, asked: ‘How much do they want to offend their backbenchers? How much do they want to demoralise the talent in the NHS that can do so much if not always played down and insulted by ministers? How little do they know of the complexities of the NHS? You can’t just fly in management.’

Unison senior national officer Mike Jackson agreed that it was ‘unlikely that private sector managers would have the necessary experience of delivering acute and emergency services to bring long-term benefits’.

He added: ‘There is a strong public service ethos in the NHS which would be severely damaged by bringing in private management.’

Climate is ripe for a perfect storm in the NHS » Hospital Dr

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) is a trade union that represents the interests of senior hospital and medical staff

Many trusts are openly saying that they can’t pay the bills and are resorting to draconian measures to balance the books. At the same time NHS staff remain under a pay freeze, redundancies are becoming the norm and staff are being asked to accept higher pension contributions in return for a lower pension income. Morale is low; and goodwill rapidly destroyed as the NHS is forced to manage a financial crisis not of the staff’s making.

Where does patient care stand in this mess? Many treatments are being put on hold or restricted. Care of the elderly is regularly reported as being sub-standard. Waiting times are lengthening; tensions within the NHS increasing.

Reform can only be built upon a solid platform and I fear that the sinking sands will inevitably lead to structural collapse. Raiding surplus pension funds to bail out the business is Maxwellian, dangerous and ill-conceived. How often are we told: “Staff are the greatest NHS asset?” Well now is the time for politicians to put their support for the NHS to the test.

The perfect storm is not a cheap sound bite. Until or unless NHS staff are valued, respected and treated fairly, the storm clouds will loom large.

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