- 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.
Lansley has a hard time from those opposed to his destruction of the NHS and uninvited to the meeting of supporters at 10 Downing Street.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley faced angry protesters outside Downing St – spearheaded by vocal former NHS union representative June Hautot, 75 – as David Cameron went ahead with a highly-criticised summit on planned reforms.
No 10 faced deep criticism for failing to release the guest list to today’s meeting on the health and social care bill, with eight royal colleges saying they were not invited and health unions almost totally excluded.
Mr Lansley, the main architect of the bill, was almost prevented from entering Downing St altogether by a group of demonstrators.
As boos and chants of ‘greedy, greedy, greedy’ rang out, former NHS union rep Ms Hautot, 75, stood in the health secretary’s way saying: ‘I’ve had enough of you and Cameron’.
Ms Hautot, from Tooting, south London, later told reporters: ‘He said, “I want to get through” and I said, “You can wait. There’s a lot of people out there waiting for treatment and if your bill goes through, they will be waiting a lot longer”.’
‘He said, “we are not privatising the NHS”. I said, “I’ve got news for you. You’ve been privatising it since 1979”.’
[The reference to 1979 relates to the UK Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.]
“Summit of the willing” puts Cameron at centre of NHS storm by Wendy Savage
Prime minister’s plan to discuss implementation of health bill backfires as ‘supporters’ take opportunity to outline concerns
If David Cameron was hoping for an easy ride on his controversial NHS shakeup by excluding its fiercest critics from the Downing Street gathering of carefully selected health leaders, he will have been disappointed.
While the atmosphere was polite and constructive, those invited used the opportunity to detail their concerns about how the health and social care bill could damage the NHS. They raised directly with the prime minister the same fears and uncertainties that the leaders of Britain’s nurses, doctors and other professions who want the bill scrapped would have mentioned – if they had been present.
The health bill could spell serious trouble for the Conservatives, as a poll shows declining support.
If you were in any doubt about how damaging the continued controversy over the NHS bill could be for the Conservatives, look no further than the Guardian/ICM poll out today.
The topline figures are typical: the Tories are on 36 (despite opening up a five point lead in the Guardian‘s poll last month), Labour are up two on last month at 37, while the Liberal Democrats are at 14. These results mirror those in the Populus/Times poll, also out today, which puts the Tories on 37, Labour on 39, and the Liberal Democrats on 11.
It certainly jumps out that the Tories have lost four percentage points in a single month in the ICM poll, although it looks as if that five-point lead was an outlier. The really interesting findings are on the NHS.
An outright majority of respondents — 52 per cent — believe that the health bill should be scrapped. Just 33 per cent believe that at this stage it is better to persevere with the reform, meaning that there is a 19 point margin in favour of axing the bill. This is reasonably consistent across social classes, gender, and regions.