I find the second featured article interesting. The article recognises the importance that Lansley was formerly Cameron’s boss and suggests that Cameron was not interested or aware of the extent of Lansley’s ‘reforms’.
In a related exercise, I have been trying to nail down the origin of this movement to destroy the NHS. I suspect that it may be criticism of the National Health Service by American politicians in 2008 / 2009. These criticisms were made in response to Hillary Clinton’s manouvers concerning health care reform for the poor. Clinton’s proposals were only ever posturings – there was never any serious intentions.
It is disappointing that UK Neo-Cons suck up so much to their insane US masters. USUK.
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.
CAMPAIGNERS will today hand over a petition signed by more than 150,000 people to MP John Pugh opposing plans to radically reform the NHS.
Members of campaign group 38 Degrees will tell the Lib Dem health spokesman of the dangers of the proposed Health and Social Bill.
The proposed Coalition legislation will hand 80% of the NHS budget to consortia of GPs, who will buy services from providers in the public, private and charity sectors.
But there are fears that NHS hospitals will go bust if private firms grab large chunks of their revenue by cherry-picking the easiest treatments.
The great NHS storm that has beset politics was one that few saw coming. There were voices, and I hope a touch of self-congratulation on the part of the Guardian might be forgiven here, who warned before the election that Andrew Lansley was quietly drawing up plans that might explode the moment they met daylight. And so it has come to pass.
In part, of course, the calm before the storm arose because of what the Conservatives did not say. Lansley’s shock therapy was referred to in only the most oblique terms in the Tory manifesto, while the coalition agreement described an entirely different package, which involved democratising primary care trusts instead of abolishing them. In part, however, it has to do with the measured personal style of Lansley himself.
A former civil servant, who in the distant past worked for Norman Tebbit, he retains something of the mandarin’s technocratic manner. That is only reinforced by his extraordinary tenure over the health portfolio, which has been in his grasp since Iain Duncan Smith’s day, some seven years ago. Sure of his terrain, he avoided all the obvious elephant traps on the cusp of the 2010 election, and he made the shrewd choice to hug the doctors close, even querying Gordon Brown’s plans to extend GP opening hours, to ensure that the trusted voice of the profession would not rail against him in opposition.
The reaction against the health bill is rapidly moving from silent to violent, as the world wakes up to what it will mean. After those air-brushed election posters about “cutting the deficit, not the NHS” David Cameron’s personal reputation is very much at risk. Only when the memoirs are written will we discover whether he ever intended to allow the mild-mannered Lansley to gamble with a service that he once described as “a wonderful fact of British life”.
The founding principles of the NHS are in danger of being wiped out by Government plans to overhaul the health service, an MP has warned.
Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams said the health reforms had no mandate from the British people and no support from health professionals nor the Lib-Dems who are in coalition with the Tories.
Mrs Abrahams said: “Not only are the founding principles of the NHS in danger of being wiped out, but its culture — the reason that most of its employees work for the NHS — will go as well.
“The whole ethos of the NHS will change. It will now be driven by competition and consumer interests.”
Health union Unison warned today against the government’s vicious local authority spending cuts following evidence that the NHS will be forced to pick up the pieces of a £1 billion gap in social care funding.
Health think tank the King’s Fund revealed that the NHS will come under increasing pressure from people whose needs are not met by local authority services.
The fund warned that local authority social care services face a funding gap in excess of at least £1.2bn by 2014-15.
Paul Blomfield MP yesterday attacked the Tory/Lib Dem government’s plans to drastically restructure the NHS which he warned will create a two-tier health system, and encourage the privatisation of the NHS. Mr Blomfield urged the Government to abandon their NHS plans and listen to the British Medical Association who at an emergency conference on Tuesday urged the Government to think again.
Paul Blomfield MP said in his speech that: “The proposals reveal the ideological heart of the Government and their vision for public services: a two-tier health system, with the best available for those who can afford it, and the NHS becoming a safety net for those who cannot.”
Speaking after the debate Paul said: “I’m very disappointed that Lib Dem MPs failed to support Labour in defending the NHS from the Tory attack on it. The Lib Dem MPs have ignored the vote at their conference in Sheffield last weekend which rejected the NHS reforms and they’ve let down their voters.
Earlier this week Labour launched a petition calling on David Cameron to protect frontline services in the NHS and keep his pre-General Election promise to put an end to big top down reorganisations. Labour secured an opposition day debate on Tory plans to reorganise the NHS after the plans were rejected by the Liberal Democrats at their Spring Conference and condemned by the British Medical Association at their extraordinary general meeting last week.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “GPs don’t want the Tories’ NHS reforms, Lib Dems don’t want the Tories and the public don’t want the Tories’ NHS reforms. We beat the Government on the forests and I know we can beat them on the NHS reforms if we all work together.”
John Healey, Shadow Health Secretary, added: “David Cameron has scrapped Labour’s waiting time guarantees for hospital treatments and GP appointments, and he’s cutting frontline staff while wasting £2billion on a reckless reorganisation.
The guide to the “unprecedented” restructuring of the health service in England points out that previous reforms had a “negative effect” on services, staff morale and productivity.
It claims that “quality of care provided to patients” and “continuity of services” is in danger as tiers of management are removed and experience staff leave.
And the paper, signed by senior civil servants including the Chief Executive of the NHS, reminds staff that the Government’s reforms are taking place at the same time as £20billion in efficiency savings must be made.
The threatened NHS has been much in all our minds this week, and, pestered by online petitions and appeals for support, I’ve been going over my long relationship with it. Our experiences of the NHS are woven deeply into the fabric of our lives, and most of mine have been good. All my children were born and cared for on the NHS, and have been well served by it. And for those nearing the end of life, my GP used to bake and ice a cake for each of his patients who reached the age of 100.
It has been a recurrent theme in my fiction, as it has been an integral part of my life. The narrator of The Millstone (1966), a young unmarried mother, in a central confrontational scene, actually delivers herself of the line “I love the National Health Service”, while insisting on access to her sick baby in Great Ormond Street hospital. How things have changed since then, and sometimes for the better. When I went to visit my granddaughter a few years ago, as she recovered from minor surgery, the atmosphere was festive. Our generation of mothers had complained, we had made ourselves heard, and life on the wards had improved. That’s how it worked, and should work. It is for us, it is ours, and the professionals do listen.
And now we seem to be on the brink of losing all of this. It isn’t wholly unexpected. I predicted creeping privatisation in my 1996 satirical condition-of-England novel, The Witch of Exmoor, written at the somewhat ridiculous and squalid end of the failing Major government. We had already become wary about the selling off of public assets and services into private hands – gas, water, prisons, railways. One of the novel’s more sympathetic characters, an advertising man, works for a firm which is given the task of updating “the corporate image of the National Health Service”.