The big NHS news today is further example of Liberal-Democrat spin that they opposed the Destroy the NHS Bill. Let’s get this clear: The NHS is getting destroyed by Conservatives and Conservative Liberal-Democrats acting in unison.
Lib-Dem peers have published a letter in the Guardian proclaiming that “The time for declaratory statements is past.” I had to find a definition for declaratory statements. It is unnecessarily complex and is inteded to exclude most people from understanding it but I think that it’s about explaining the law and stating the rights of parties. Liberal-Democrat hypocrisy is exposed by the letter also stating “Any politician who plays party political games with the NHS would be open to justified public criticism.” There you go then: justified public criticism.
The letter comes after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley signalled that he would accept an ammendment regarding ultimite responsibility for providing a health service. The ammendment appears to be a dimunition from responsibilty for providing a comprehensive health service to “retains ultimate responsibility” for NHS services. While I find this also a little complex it does seem to continue Con-Dem government’s attempts to evade responsibility for proving a health service but I’m waiting for commentary from others.
The Labour Party claims that Prime Minister David Cameron has broken three promises on the NHS: to end top-down reorganisations, to increase NHS funding in real terms and to stop hospital reconfigurations.
The British Medical Association repeats it’s call for the bill to be abandoned and states 11 changes it wants made.
The TUC highlights the government’s “credibity deficit”.
Campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts is continuing legal action against NHS Gloucestershire’s plans to transfer local health services to a community interest company.
trying to see what Gerada has to say about bloggers …
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
The time for declaratory statements is past. Patients who care passionately about the NHS, and staff who want to give the best possible service, need certainty about the future of the health service (The battle is far from over, 25 October). Any politician who plays party political games with the NHS would be open to justified public criticism. So it is now imperative that members of the House of Lords get on with their job of subjecting this bill to detailed, rigorous scrutiny.
In order to safeguard the NHS, free at the point of need and accessible to all, Liberal Democrat peers are putting forward amendments which require the secretary of state to remain responsible for health services being provided across England. In coming weeks we will seek to ensure that the NHS continues to develop cutting-edge research and that any income from private patients is used solely for the benefit of NHS patients. We will carry on scrutinising this bill so that the NHS can continue to deliver world-class care for patients.
Jonathan Marks QC
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has accused prime minister David Cameron of betraying the NHS ahead of a House of Commons debate on the Health Bill on Wednesday.
Labour said it was taking its fight against the Bill directly to the prime minister for ‘writing cheques in opposition that he couldn’t cash in government’.
In a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham will accuse the prime minister of breaking three personal pledges on the NHS.
He is expected to criticise David Cameron for performing a U-turn on his pre-election promise to end top-down reorganisation in the NHS. He will also say the government’s pledge to increase NHS funding in real terms has not been met, and that the government has broken a pledge to enforce a moratorium on hospital reconfiguration.
The British Medical Association publishes the changes it would like to see made to the Health and Social Care Bill, as the legislation reaches the Lord’s committee stage
The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for further changes it would like to see made to the Health and Social Care Bill as the bill enters the committee stage in the House of Lords this week.
The BMA outlines 11 areas of significant concern it has with the current draft of the legislation, as well as a call for the “mitigation of damage” to the NHS which it believes the bill will cause.
Included in these recommendations is an amendment making it explicit that increasing patient choice will not be given greater priority than ensuring fair access for all, a call for the secretary of state to retain ultimately responsible for the provision of comprehensive health services and a reduction of the overly restrictive powers granted to CCGs.
The BMA also expressed a wish for the government to be clearer concerning the role and the future role of the CCGs, and that the secretary of state should have a duty to ensure there is an effective system for delivering medical education and training.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, chair of the BMA Council, commented on the publication, stating: “The BMA’s preferred option is for the Health and Social Care Bill to be withdrawn – However, during this stage of the parliamentary process, there is scope for further significant change to be made.”
He added: “We have today set out the areas where we believe there still need to be amendments. We hope the Lords will agree with us and change the proposed legislation, limiting the damage this Bill could do to the NHS.”
The gap between rhetoric and reality of the government’s public service reforms is growing, as privatisation and workforce opposition to the changes increase, according to a paper published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
In response to the government’s Open Public Services white paper, the TUC said a market-led approach to reform was increasing the private sector takeover of public services and public sector workers were turning against the measures:
The TUC pointed out that while health ministers were promoting social enterprise in the UK, NHS Surrey awarded the contract for its community health care services to private provider Assura Medical (75 per cent owned by the Virgin Group) rather than the government’s social enterprise champions Central Surrey Health.
Gloucestershire’s primary care trust has paused plans to transfer local health services to a community interest company pending a hearing
NHS Gloucestershire has put on hold its plans to transfer community health services and a £100m budget from the local health service to Gloucestershire Care Services, a company spun out of the local primary care trust.
Jan Stubbings, the trust’s chief executive, said she had agreed not to sign the contracts needed to effect the transfer before the outcome of a legal hearing.
“Concluding the arrangements for the transfer is in the interests of patients and staff and will ensure service continuity and stability,” said Stubbings. “Timely resolution of outstanding legal matters is also in the interests of the taxpayer and public funds.”
Campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts said the pause followed a judicial determination that trust should not finalise its proposed transfer of more than 3,000 NHS health staff and a variety of health services out of the NHS, after a legal case presented by its solicitors.
The group has claimed that the proposed transfer would be highly damaging to NHS services in Gloucestershire. James Beecher, a co-ordinator of Stroud Against the Cuts, said that if the challenge is successful it will force managers to consider options which have been successfully implemented elsewhere in the country and would keep services and staff within the NHS.