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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.

Cumbria health boss John Ashton defends NHS reform letter

Cumbria’s director of public health has defended his right to speak out on the government’s planned health reforms.

Prof John Ashton co-signed a letter in a newspaper earlier this month. It defended the Royal College of GPs’ chair, who opposes reform.

NHS Cumbria said in a letter to Prof Ashton that it was “inappropriate” for him to express his personal views and summoned him to a meeting on Friday.

According to Prof Ashton, this meeting has now been postponed.

“Trying to gag me at this stage in my career won’t have an effect,” said Prof Ashton.

NHS reforms bill should be scrapped, say paediatricians

Royal college calls for withdrawal just days after NHS summit, saying most members are concerned it puts children at risk


The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has called for the health bill to be withdrawn just three days after meeting the prime minister to discuss the controversial reforms.

Its president, Professor Terence Stephenson, said the college never supported the bill but it was now clear a substantial majority of voting members believed it “carries risk for children and young people“.

He said there was also deep concern among the wider health profession and public over the impact of the bill on patient care.

The government’s determination to push the bill through was “creating disaffection amongst the very people – the clinicians – who will be delivering these changes on the ground”, he said.

A survey of 1,492 college members published on Thursday found 79% wanted the Health and Social Care Bill to be scrapped. They voted for the college to call for the “outright withdrawal” of the bill rather than continue to push for amendments.


Lib Dem peers table package of amendments to health bill

Proposals addressing competition and regulation designed to defuse party anger over controversial legislation

The Liberal Democrat health front bench in the Lords has tabled a series of amendments to the health bill, designed to constrain competition and maintain regulation over foundation trusts. They are likely to be critical in deciding whether the Lib Dem leadership can fend off a party rebellion that could lead to the bill’s collapse and a rupture in the coalition.

…The leading Lib Dem health activist Martin Tod told the BBC that the Lib Dem peers’ amendments were helpful but would not be enough to satisfy those calling for the bill to be dropped.

“The bill is impossibly complicated, hugely disruptive at a time when the NHS needs to concentrate on efficiency savings and has little or no confidence from the people that are expected to implement it,” he said. “We want it withdrawn. You get to a point when something is so flawed that you try and fix it and you try and fix it, but the outcome is still not good enough.”

Tod expressed frustration with the party leadership, saying: “I don’t think they have engaged enough. There are some conversations going on with the leadership, but frankly it has been very hard to get their attention on this and make them realise the degree of concern there is.”


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