NHS news review

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NHS news is dominated by opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill, the bill to destroy the NHS.

Andrew Lansley has just finished presenting a speech to the King’s Fund. NHS reforms live blog – Andrew Lansley speech live | Society | guardian.co.uk

There is disagreement between coalition partners David Cameron and Nick Clegg over the role of Monitor.

Conservative election poster 2010

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.

Cameron’s NHS reorganisation likely to widen health funding gap | Left Foot Forward

David Cameron, in a speech at Ealing Hospital yesterday, affirmed his support for Andrew Lansley’s controversial NHS shake up.

In an attempt to shore up support for his government’s ailing NHS reforms David Cameron’s speech sought to explain why change is important for the future of the NHS. What followed, however, were not the words of a man who had taken “time to pause, listen and reflect”. Instead Mr Cameron’s speech neglected to tell the whole story and was almost devoid of any mention of the key issue, competition.

The key plank of Mr Cameron’s address was that his changes were needed in order to save money in the future. He said:

“If we stay as we are, the NHS will need £130 billion a year by 2015 – meaning a potential funding gap of £20bn. The question is, what are we going to do about that.”

He may be asking the right question but he is far from providing the right answer. The truth is that Mr. Cameron’s perilous NHS reforms are going to divert much needed attention away from the key challenge of finding the £15-20bn savings it has been asked for. The King’s Fund rightly points out that:

“Finding the £20 billion in efficiency savings needed to maintain services must be the overriding priority, so the very real risk that the speed and scale of the reforms could destabilise the NHS and undermine care must be actively managed.”

NHS, CIO, Conservatives, GP, GP Consortia, Andrew Lansley, Minister for Health, healthcare, IT, Pm, Prime Minister, david Cameron, Tory, primary care trust, deficit, redundancy, – CIO UK Magazine

A CIO at one of Britain’s leading NHS trusts has revealed to me the very worrying truth behind the shake-up of the National Health Service that the Conservative Party led government is trying to push through.

If the GP consortia led policy comes into force patient data will be placed at great risk and the likely savings to the national budget are unlikely, in fact tax payers will pay more into the health system for no return.

The leading healthcare CIO described to me the effects that the policy being driven by the Minister for Health Andrew Lansley.

Putting the onus of healthcare funding and decision making onto GPs is, according to this CIO, in effect placing a corner shop sized business in charge of an enterprise as large as a supermarket. The two do not compare, the only similarity is that they are both in the same vertical sector. The infrastructure of best practice and business processes will be discarded.

Cameron health ‘reforms’ are mess|21May11|Socialist Worker

Tory plans to “reform” the NHS out of existence are taking a battering as public anger continues to grow.

Now even the leading doctor brought in to review the proposals has declared the plans “unworkable”.

Professor Steve Field warned last week that forcing hospitals to compete could “destroy essential services”.

A desperate David Cameron was forced to respond by visiting a London hospital to pledge his family’s “love for the NHS”.

But beneath his honeyed words were barbed warnings that the Tories are in no mood to retreat. “It is because I love the NHS so much that I want to change it,” he said.

But Cameron said he remains committed to more privatisation and more competition in the NHS.

Private healthcare companies are already rubbing their hands together at the prospect of grabbing our cash.

NHS reforms live blog – Andrew Lansley speech live | Society | guardian.co.uk

10.14am: The health secretary gets polite applause as he finishes speaking.

BBC News – Nick Clegg to oppose NHS competition regulator

Nick Clegg will oppose the idea of a regulator promoting competition in the health service in England, a key part of planned NHS reforms.

It places the deputy PM in opposition to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley who wants more competition to cut prices.

Mr Clegg also criticised David Cameron for declaring his love for the NHS while taking advice from people talking up the potential for private profits.

Labour said Mr Clegg was only interested in saving his party.

BBC deputy political editor James Landale said Mr Clegg’s intervention, in a meeting with Lib Dem MPs and peers, marked an escalation in negotiations with his Conservative partners over the Health and Social Care Bill which is currently on hold.

It will also be seen as a rebuff to the prime minister who used his speech on Monday to try to assert his political authority and ownership over the changes being made to the bill.

Pulse – GPs told to cut hospital use by 15% in a year

Exclusive: GPs are facing demands to deliver unprecedented reductions in hospital activity over the current financial year, with NHS managers setting targets for cuts in admissions of 15% or more by next April, a Pulse investigation reveals.

Primary care organisations are going far further than even the Department of Health had planned, and demanding GPs deliver major cuts in hospital activity in less than half the time set out in the national QIPP programme. GPs warned the plans were unachievable and that there was a risk they could damage patient care.

In November, Pulse revealed Sir John Oldham, DH national clinical lead for quality and productivity, had warned GPs that by the end of 2013/14, they would have to cut unscheduled admissions of patients with long-term conditions by a fifth and help reduce A&E attendance by 10% and length of stay by 25%.

But responses from 120 PCTs and health boards under the Freedom of Information Act show they have earmarked an average 15% reduction in unscheduled hospital admissions in patients with long-term conditions by April 2012 alone. They are also targeting average reductions of 31% in A&E attendance and 26% in length of stay by the end of this financial year.

Nick Clegg threatens to veto health reforms over role of NHS regulator | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has set himself on a collision course with the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, by signalling his determination to veto a key plank of the government’s controversial NHS reforms.

Clegg has singled out the role of Monitor, the NHS regulator, as the area of the embattled NHS bill that needs the “most substantial changes” and has said descriptions of the body as an economic regulator should be removed on the grounds that the NHS cannot be regulated as if it were just a utility “like electricity or telephones”. [or trains]

Coalition in ‘Grand Canyon’ split over future of the NHS ‘reforms’

A chasm as deep as the Grand Canyon has emerged between the coalition allies over the role of Monitor, which will regulate competition in the ‘reformed’ NHS.

Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Wednesday 18 May) that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s assertion that Monitor should focus on collaboration rather than fostering competition in the NHS was a direct challenge to David Cameron.

A central tenet of the Health and Social Care bill, currently before parliament, is that a beefed-up Monitor would be the engine to encourage competition and open the door for private healthcare companies to gobble up and ‘cherry pick’ lucrative NHS contracts.

Unite’s national officer for health Rachael Maskell said: ”Nick Clegg’s new found assertiveness against the privatisation of the NHS is to be welcomed – but uncomfortably for the coalition it now exposes a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon over the fate of the bill in particular and the future of the NHS between the coalition partners.

”David Cameron is being two-faced. On one hand, he is engaging in a PR exercise saying how much he loves the NHS, yet the Tory party has been bankrolled by private healthcare companies since he became leader. The NHS is not safe in Tory hands.

”The prime minister is also reportedly being advised by Mark Britnell – former NHS official now working for accountants KPMG – who is alleged to have said that private companies would show ‘no mercy’ to the NHS.

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