Andrew Lansley and the Con-Dems to wash their hands of the NHS.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
The health secretary will be able to ‘wash his hands’ of the NHS if the Health Bill becomes law, legal experts have warned.
Legal advice funded by campaign group 38 Degrees found that the Health Bill will take away the health secretary’s duty to provide a national health service through a ‘hands-off clause’.
This will ‘severely curtail’ the health secretary’s ability to influence the delivery of NHS care and to ensure everyone receives the best healthcare possible, it warned.
It said: ‘The Bill will make it impossible for the secretary of state to direct that certain services are available and difficult for the secretary of state to step in if these groups deliver poor healthcare to the local community.’
More than three quarters of the 1,000 ministerial amendments to the government’s flagship NHS bill involve changing the name of the new GP bodies to purchase treatment on behalf of the patients, it emerged on Tuesday.
Until this summer, the government had been pushing the idea that family doctors would form “consortia” to buy care. However, David Cameron’s team of experts, the Future Forum, advocated a name change since “consortia” gave the impression that GPs would be too powerful in the coalition’s new look NHS.
Instead GP consortia are to be called “clinical commissioning groups” and will have governing bodies with at least one nurse and one specialist doctor.
The result, say critics, is a bureaucratic nightmare with a slew of meaningless amendments which could obscure some potentially disastrous changes to the NHS bill, already the longest and most complex in the NHS’s history. MPs are to vote on the final report stage in the Commons next week.
Since the government only allowed two weeks to vote on the new bill earlier this summer, many say detailed scrutiny will be needed in the Lords to unearth the full implications for patients. Labour believe only one in 10 changes will be “new” amendments.
(Scotland) The NHS workforce shrunk by more than 1500 in three months, with further reductions expected over the year, according to new figures.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said any reduction, particularly involving nursing staff, will cause concern but good progress was being made to cut the number of high-earning managers.
The number of staff fell by 1589 to 155,312 between June and March, equal to 1%. The number of nursing and midwifery staff decreased by 569 to 65,856.
The SNP’s political opponents said the figures show cuts to nurses despite election pledges to protect health spending.
The current health and social care bill talks about ‘liberating provision of NHS services’ – Tory code for allowing the market into the much-loved public service.
PCS’s policy-making annual conferences have regularly voted in support of the NHS and against privatisation – so the union urges members to take action to support the campaign against the bill.
The Trades Union Congress – the umbrella body for British unions – has set up a web page called All Together for the NHS.
The TUC wants people to do three things:
• Upload a picture to be used in a giant photo mosaic as part of an on-line vigil.
• Place a poster in your window in the run up to the third reading of the bill in early September.
• Lobby a random member of the House of Lords to defend the NHS when they discuss the bill. Use this link to find your Lord or Lady.
MPs are bracing for another onslaught of emails as online activist group 38 degrees launches its latest campaign, this time targeting the government’s controversial NHS reform proposals.
The group say despite changes to the Health and Social Care Bill the NHS could still be subject to European competition laws, following the advice of two lawyers.
38 Degrees say the advice shows “private health companies will be able to take new NHS commissioning groups to court if they don’t win contracts”.
They also claim Andrew Lansley will no longer have a legal duty to provide a health service. “We can expect increases in postcode lotteries – and less ways to hold the government to account if the service deteriorates.”
Now they are urging their supporters to email their MP – particularly if they will be supporting the health and social care bill.