NHS news review

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.

The BMJ, HSJ and Nursing Times have published the same editorial comment on the Health and Social Care Bill. The editorial is critical of Andrew Lansley and the ConDems for the poor progress of the bill and the resulting “unholy mess”. The editors claim that further NHS reforms will be needed to clear up that “unholy mess”.

The NHS deserves a better, more open debate over health reform | Leader | Health Service Journal

As the editors of the BMJ, HSJ and Nursing Times, we have divergent views on the NHS reforms and its beleaguered Health and Social Care Bill. But on one thing we are agreed: the resulting upheaval has been unnecessary, poorly conceived, badly communicated and a dangerous distraction at a time when the NHS is required to make unprecedented savings. Worse, it has destabilised and damaged one of this country’s greatest achievements: a system that embodies social justice and has delivered widespread patient satisfaction, public support, and value for money. We must make sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

Health interest groups differ in their stance on whether to oppose the bill outright or to work with the government to try to improve it. But there can be no doubting the deep distress and lack of confidence in the plans among those who must deliver the service.

The reforms did not have to result in this unholy mess. The coalition agreement released in the honeymoon period immediately after the election focused on clinical leadership and patient and public empowerment. It was generally well received by those whose daggers are drawn against the reforms.

But through a combination of poor political judgement and reluctance to engage with criticism, a set of (mostly) reasonable objectives morphed into an old fashioned top-down reorganisation. This was the very thing the agreement had pledged to avoid. It also resulted in a bloated piece of legislation, whose goals could have largely been achieved by other, more effective, means.

Trades Union Congress – Health workers and patients rally to save the NHS

Unions representing hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals and workers from across the NHS are to step up the pressure on peers with a central London rally as the Health and Social Care Bill enters its final crucial parliamentary stages.

On Wednesday 7 March – under the banner of the All Together for the NHS campaign – nurses, midwives, doctors, physiotherapists, managers, paramedics, radiographers, cleaners, porters and other employees from across the health service will join with patients to fill Central Hall Westminster for a 6pm ‘Save our NHS’ rally.

The Bill is hugely unpopular with NHS employees and patients, who have major concerns over the effect the draft legislation will have on healthcare by pushing through competition and markets on to the NHS, and allowing the private sector to take over delivering NHS services.

The All Together for the NHS campaign has called the rally over concerns that an NHS with a future based on competition will fragment the health service, worsen the care available to patients, and mean continued uncertainty for NHS employees, with the quality of training and their terms and conditions likely to suffer.

The pressure on the Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, has been growing in recent weeks with more professional bodies joining the calls to amend significantly or withdraw the Bill completely. The March rally is intended to add to that pressure by demonstrating the broad coalition of opposition to Bill.Unions representing hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals and workers from across the NHS are to step up the pressure on peers with a central London rally as the Health and Social Care Bill enters its final crucial parliamentary stages.

On Wednesday 7 March – under the banner of the All Together for the NHS campaign – nurses, midwives, doctors, physiotherapists, managers, paramedics, radiographers, cleaners, porters and other employees from across the health service will join with patients to fill Central Hall Westminster for a 6pm ‘Save our NHS’ rally.

The Bill is hugely unpopular with NHS employees and patients, who have major concerns over the effect the draft legislation will have on healthcare by pushing through competition and markets on to the NHS, and allowing the private sector to take over delivering NHS services.

The All Together for the NHS campaign has called the rally over concerns that an NHS with a future based on competition will fragment the health service, worsen the care available to patients, and mean continued uncertainty for NHS employees, with the quality of training and their terms and conditions likely to suffer.

The pressure on the Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, has been growing in recent weeks with more professional bodies joining the calls to amend significantly or withdraw the Bill completely. The March rally is intended to add to that pressure by demonstrating the broad coalition of opposition to Bill.

‘Reforms will change maternity care’ – Royal College of Midwives

Two thirds of NHS staff believe maternity care will change under Andrew Lansley’s contentious reforms, according to a survey.

In a YouGov poll of over 1600 staff, 68% said they believe the bill will lead to changes for ‘basic services’.

Along with maternity care, this also includes services such as cancer screening and the ambulance service.

The poll also shows 71% think the health secretary is doing bad job, and 78% believe more patients will be excluded from NHS care under the reforms.

It is the first independent poll on the NHS plans to be conducted across all the medical professions, at a range of management levels.

David Babbs is executive director of 38 Degrees – the non-profit political activist group whose members paid for the poll.

He said: ‘For over a year 38 Degrees members have been telling Andrew Lansley to stop ploughing on regardless and to start listening to the concerns of the public and health care professionals.

‘Time and again Lansley’s tried to claim that the silent majority of NHS staff support him. This poll shows that’s not true.’

The survey was conducted on 17-26 January this year and also shows that 84% of health workers surveyed have no confidence that the right balance between competition and collaboration will be struck.

The full poll results are available to download here.

 

 

 

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