- 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.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is set to step up his attack on the Government’s NHS reforms, accusing Prime Minister David Cameron of breaking his promises on health.
During a visit to the Royal Bolton Hospital, in Greater Manchester, Mr Miliband will denounce the Government’s Health And Social Care Bill as “bad for the NHS” and repeat his call on the Prime Minister to scrap it.
More than 120,000 people have now signed an e-petition on a Government website calling for the dumping of the Bill, which has attracted opposition from health professionals and patients’ groups.
More than 150 paediatricians have signed a damning letter calling on the government to scrap its health and social care billMore than 150 paediatricians are calling on the government to scrap its controversial health bill, saying it will have an extremely damaging effect on the health of children.
In a damning letter to The Lancet medical journal, members of the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there was “no prospect” of improving the health and social care bill, which is going through parliament.
They accused the government of “misrepresenting” the bill as being something that was necessary for the NHS.
The move will put increasing pressure on the government over the reforms, which have come under repeated fire from healthcare professionals.
Friday’s letter said that “if passed, we believe that the bill will have an extremely damaging effect on the healthcare of children and their families, and their access to high quality, effective services”.
It added: “We see no prospect for improvement to the bill sufficient to safeguard the rights of access to healthcare by children and their families.
The health and social care bill proposes a system that will destroy all the advantages of the centrally planned NHS
by Andy Burnham, shadow Minister for Health
By framing this debate in terms of competition, the prime minister is not just choosing the wrong policy prescription for the NHS; it is potentially catastrophic for his entire political project. This is the man who used the NHS to pose as a different kind of Tory. He promised to protect it and spare it from upheaval. In taking a different course, and arguing for a market, he is taking a huge gamble. There is still time to turn back. For Labour, it is to our political advantage if the PM digs in behind his health secretary and his bill – effectively guaranteeing that the NHS will be a major political issue at the next election. But, even so, I’m sure I speak for the nearly all members of the Labour party in saying that we hope the prime minister sees sense at the eleventh hour and drops the bill. In the final analysis, the NHS matters more to this party than our own electoral self-interest.
The BMA has requested an urgent meeting with the chief secretary to the Treasury in a further effort to re-start talks with the government on changes to the NHS pension scheme.
The BMA is seeking a fairer offer after 46,000 doctors and medical students responded to a survey last month, with 84% rejecting the government’s current plans which include raising the normal pension age for NHS staff.
Nearly two thirds said they would be prepared to take industrial action if the government does not improve its offer. In recent exchanges, the health secretary indicated that there would be no movement in the Department of Health’s position.
Under the government’s plans to reform the NHS pension scheme doctors’ retirement age would increase to 68; there would be a move from a final salary pension scheme to one based on career average earnings; and there would be an increase in contributions for senior doctors from 8.5% up to 14.5% by 2014.
In the letter, the BMA points out that the NHS pension is in a very different situation from other public sector schemes, having been radically overhauled less than four years ago.
“It is in good financial health, and currently provides £2billion to the Treasury every year,” it says. “In addition, the cost-sharing agreement reached at the time ensured that any increase in contributions needed in the future would be met by employees, not the taxpayer.”
The letter highlights the unfairness of NHS staff paying twice as much for the same pensions as some other public sector workers on similar salaries. It quotes the Public Accounts Committee’s warning that the government’s proposals “could destabilise the largest public sector pension scheme, increasing the burden on the state, and creating problems with retention of senior staff”
Related: BMA may ballot over pensions