- 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.
Apologies for the delay – huge connectivity problems. (Hi reader Rich;)
MPs launched a fresh attack on the government on Wednesday for dragging its heels over publication of the potential risks of NHS reforms almost a week after a legal ruling ordered it to do so.
An information rights tribunal ordered the government to publish the national risk register last Friday.
Doing so would make public the known consequences for NHS patients and services if the Health and Social Care Bill is to become law.
Last week’s ruling was the second demanding that the register be published.
The Information Commissioner found in favour of its publication in November 2010.
But as the Health Bill nears its final stage the government is still refusing to publish the register.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We are still awaiting the detailed reasoning behind this decision.
“Once we have been able to examine the judgement we will work with colleagues across government and decide next steps.”
Labour MPs believe the government is intentionally dragging its feet on publishing the register to ensure the Bill goes through before its full implications are clear.
On Monday afternoon, the House of Lords starts the final voting on the NHS changes. An influential crossbench Lord, Lord David Owen, has agreed to deliver the Save Our NHS petition. He will take it into the House of Lords chamber, just before the debate starts.
The petition bears the names of over half a million of us. It speaks of our fears for the future of our NHS: services broken up, creeping privatisation, money diverted from patient care. These are the kinds of risks which could be in the government’s risk report. But the government still won’t publish that report, despite legal orders to do so.
During Monday’s debate, Lord Owen will call a vote blocking the NHS changes until the risk report is published. Our petition will remind Lords that the public care about these risks to the future of our health service. It could persuade some wavering Lords to vote the right way.
It’s quite a long shot, to be honest. The government seems determined to ignore everyone’s concerns and force things through. But incredible things can happen even this late in the day – it’s definitely worth a try.
There’s already 500,000 names on the petition. But the bigger it is, the more powerful our message to the Lords on Monday when the petition is delivered. So please can you sign the petition and forward it to your friends, family and colleagues too.
Even professionals find the health and social care bill confusing. Below, as an introduction to this special series of interviews, Denis Campbell, the Guardian’s health correspondent, explains what will happen if it goes through
Nearly 2,000 medical students called on the PM on Thursday to ditch the coalition’s hated attack on the NHS that could leave them without jobs.
An open letter signed by thousands of trainee doctors was handed in to No 10 and expressed concern what state the NHS will be in when they qualify if Health and Social Care Bill is passed next week.
The four students who wrote it – Vita Sinclair, Anya Gopfert, Joy Clarke and Cameron Stocks – asked David Cameron not to “gamble with our shared right to comprehensive health care” and told him it is “not too late to drop the Bill.”
Ms Sinclair said: “The health Bill is dangerous because it is so complicated that people struggle to understand what is happening to their NHS.
“If the Bill is passed we will see gradual changes leaving vulnerable populations like the homeless or simply those with a complicated medical history at high risk of being treated unfairly or not treated at all.”
Royal College of Physicians poll shows widespread opposition to shakeup, with abundant fears about privatisation of services
Almost seven in 10 members of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), which represents hospital doctors, want the health and social care bill withdrawn.
The findings of the RCP’s poll of its members’ views on the bill are another blow to ministers’ efforts to convince doctors their plans are right, and are a significant addition to the medical community’s almost unanimous opposition to it.
What Britain now has is a blue-orange coalition, with the little-knownOrange Book forming the core of current Lib Dem political thinking. To understand how this disreputable arrangement has come about, we need to examine the philosophy laid out in The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism, edited by David Laws (now the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Paul Marshall. Particularly interesting are the contributions of the Lib Dems’ present leadership.
Published in 2004, the Orange Book marked the start of the slow decline of progressive values in the Lib Dems and the gradual abandonment of social market values. It also provided the ideological standpoint around which the party’s right wing was able to coalesce and begin their march to power in the Lib Dems. What is remarkable is the failure of former SDP and Labour elements to sound warning bells about the direction the party was taking. Former Labour ministers such as Shirley Williams and Tom McNally should be ashamed of their inaction.
Clegg and his Lib Dem supporters have much in common with David Cameron and his allies in their philosophical approach and with their social liberal solutions to society’s perceived ills. The Orange Book is predicated on an abiding belief in the free market’s ability to address issues such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government and prisons.
The Lib Dem leadership seems to sit very easily in the Tory-led coalition. This is an arranged marriage between partners of a similar background and belief. Even the Tory-Whig coalition of early 1780s, although its members were from the same class, at least had fundamental political differences. Now we see a Government made up of a single elite that has previously manifested itself as two separate political parties and which is divided more by subtle shades of opinion than any profound ideological difference.