Comments by dizzy dissident: Of special note is
- Yesterday’s vote by the BMA to call on Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to withdraw the abolition of the NHS bill.
- Andrew Lansley’s response needs to be fact-checked e.g. that the BMA previously supported parts of the bill.
- The Labour Party has belatedly joined the campaign to oppose the abolition of the NHS. Belatedly because they appear to have joined the campaign once it was assured widespread support – after both the Liberal Democrats and the BMA have declared that they oppose the decimation of the NHS.
- The Labour Party response – a petition – is pathetically inadequate.
- It is interesting that Liberal Democrat MPs are mandated to vote with Labour MPs to oppose the bill.
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.
At a committee stage meeting on the reforms on Tuesday, the shadow health team was set to demand the removal of the whole middle third of the Bill, which opens up commissioning to ‘any willing provider’.
This section will grant the regulator Monitor powers to fine commissioning groups up to 10% of their turnover for anti-competitive practice, Labour claims. The powers would be in line with those currently exercised by the Office of Fair Trading.
Speaking at a press briefing before the committee meeting, Shadow health minister John Healey said the Health and Social Care Bill will expose the NHS to full force of competition law.
Doctors have voted to call on the government to scrap its plans for overhauling the NHS.
The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, is coming under increasing pressure over his reforms, which involve the abolition of more than 150 organisations and moving 80% of the NHS budget into the hands of GPs.
Some doctors support the content of the health and social care bill, currently going through parliament, but many have been voicing opposition to parts of it, including increasing the role of private companies in delivering healthcare.
Today the British Medical Association (BMA) held an emergency meeting attended by almost 400 doctors to debate the plans.
Doctors voted in favour of calling on Lansley to withdraw the bill entirely and for a “halt to the proposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS”.
The Government is coming under increasing pressure over its NHS reforms after doctors voted for the plans to be dropped.
Delegates at an emergency meeting said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill, and “halt the proposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS”.
Some doctors support the Bill, currently going through parliament, which would see more than 150 organisations abolished and 80% of the NHS budget pass into the hands of GPs.
But many have been voicing their opposition, including to increasing the role of private companies in delivering healthcare.
The emergency meeting of the British Medical Association (BMA) comes as Labour tabled amendments to the Bill, saying there was a need to protect the NHS against the introduction of a full-blown competitive market.
More than 220,000 jobs are under threat in councils, the NHS, education and other parts of the public sector because of the Government’s spending cuts, according to a new study.
The GMB union, which has been tracking job loss announcements in councils for months, said that when other parts of the public sector were included, the toll of job cuts was “shocking”.
Over 170,000 posts were under threat at 318 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland, but when planned cuts in the NHS, universities and Government departments were included, the total was 226,000, said the union.
Doctors overwhelmingly followed disaffected Liberal Democrats on Wednesday in condemning government plans to break apart the NHS.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is forging enemies left, right and centre over his flagship “reform” plan, as the British Medical Association became the latest to vote against it at an emergency meeting attended by almost 400 doctors.
The deeply unpopular Health and Social Care Bill, currently at the committee stage in Parliament, was also voted against by Lib Dems at their party’s spring conference in Sheffield on the weekend.
The Government’s reforms of the NHS are coming under attack from health campaigners and unions.
Q: What will the shake-up do?
A: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has unveiled plans to change the way the NHS works in England, saying they will improve patient care.
Under proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill, GPs will take control of 80% of the NHS budget – some £80 billion a year – and hospitals will be given more freedom from central Government.
The aim is for groups of GPs to be ready to commission services from April 2013.
It is unclear exactly how many of these GP consortia plan to do the work themselves and how many will buy-in outside expertise.
An NHS Commissioning Board will oversee the way services are bought, and primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, which currently hold the purse strings, will be scrapped.
The move is a major overhaul and will lead to more than 150 organisations being abolished and thousands of job losses.
Since the General Election, the British public has seen David Cameron break promise after promise on the NHS despite promising that it was a top priority.
Labour’s petition to protect frontline services, launched today, calls on David Cameron to keep his promises to:
* Protect frontline NHS services;
* Stop precious NHS money being wasted on a big top-down reorganisation, which is putting the NHS at risk;
* Provide the real increase he promised in NHS funding.
Among the 50 GPs feted by the prime minister in January at a champagne reception in Downing Street were the leading lights of the National Association of Primary Care, a group of family doctors who many see as the brains behind health secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans.
The physicians sipping bubbly at No 10 were part of the first wave of GP shadow consortiums – doctors tasked with reshaping hospital services in the runup to finally being handed the NHS purse strings. Treading the corridors of power that chilly winter evening was Charles Alessi, an executive member of the NAPC, who two weeks earlier had penned a tabloid comment piece backing the radical pro-market plans of the government.
While the association is careful to say it is not aligned to any party, it did come up with the central plank of the health secretary’s policy: dissolve England’s primary care trusts, which currently commission hospital care on behalf of patients, and instead allow GP practices, essentially private businesses run by doctors, to form consortiums to buy treatments using £80bn of Treasury money. The loss of the primary care trusts will see 24,000 jobs go.
For the first time all England’s 38,000 general practitioners will, under the government’s plans, be directly responsible for access to expensive hospital treatments through referrals. Those family doctors who manage to stay within budget – and perhaps even save the taxpayer money – will get cash bonuses.
No 10 responded to the British Medical Association vote on NHS reforms by describing the general meeting as unrepresentative of the BMA membership, adding it was disappointed it had decided to oppose reforms it had previously supported.
Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, has insisted he will only be making minor changes to the language of the health and social care bill in response to the Liberal Democrat decision to oppose it. A discussion is now under way inside the coalition on how to respond, with some influential cabinet figures arguing Lansley has to recast a bill that is losing support daily.
Labour is to stage a debate on health on Wednesday with a motion broadly designed to mirror the Liberal Democrats’ objections to the bill, which were passed in a weekend motion at its conference in Sheffield. Liberal Democrat MPs met on Tuesday to decide how to vote in the Commons debate, but are not expected to vote with Labour.
GPs could more than double their income to £300,000 a year under health secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans for the NHS, according to an analysis for the Guardian – sparking calls from top doctors for the government to reverse controversial policies that would appear to reward physicians who ration care.
The revelation comes after the British Medical Association voted to scrap the “dangerous” health bill and demanded that Lansley rethink his radical pro-market changes to the NHS.
GPs are central to the government’s programme, and by 2013 will have to band together into consortiums before being handed £80bn of NHS funds to commission care for their patients.
At the heart of many doctors’ concerns lies the possibility that, under the reforms, GPs’ pay will be linked to rationing patient care; in essence, being rewarded for saving the taxpayer money. Doctors’ leaders warned that the public would view as “unethical” any move towards a GP’s assessment of a person’s medical need being coloured by a profit motive.
It is a serious matter that the British Medical Association has called an emergency meeting – the first of its kind for nearly 20 years – to warn the Government to think again about the pace and scale of its reforms to the National Health Service. The aims of those reforms might be laudable. The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, says he wants to set the NHS free from political interference and make it more responsive to patients. And he is right to say that with an ageing population making increasing demands on services, and the cost of drugs and new treatments rising, change is needed.
But he has set in train the biggest reorganisation in the 62-year history of the NHS – at a time when it is being asked to save £20bn from its £100bn budget. And he has done so despite a Tory pledge before the election that there would be no major overhaul of the health service. Doctors’ leaders have rightly complained that the detail on the massive changes were not available at all until the Bill was published two months ago. Mr Lansley’s reforms have been premised on ideological conviction rather than pragmatism; pilot projects should have been trialled first rather than in parallel with the passage of a Bill which is already well on its way through Parliament. No wonder Liberal Democrat delegates rejected the plans at the party’s spring conference last weekend.
Doctors’ leaders yesterday stopped short of a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Andrew Lansley but demanded that he halt his plans to reform the NHS and condemned his failure to act on their concerns.
In what is turning out to be a torrid week for the Health Secretary, the British Medical Association (BMA) called on him to withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill, now going through Parliament, and warned that it would lead to the “fragmentation” and “privatisation” of the NHS.
However, the BMA failed to back a vote of no confidence and stopped short of condemning its leadership for pursuing a policy of “critical engagement” with the Government rather than outright opposition to the Bill, after an appeal from the chairman, Hamish Meldrum, not to “tie our hands”.
The Government’s NHS reforms face their biggest challenge yet, after Liberal Democrats at their party’s spring conference voted to oppose key parts of the health bill.
In a motion passed in Sheffield on Saturday, the party committed to demand new safeguards are written into the bill to limit the role of private firms and effectively return to the previous Government’s policy of the NHS as the ‘preferred provider’.
The motion was an embarrassment to Liberal Democrat health minister Paul Burstow, whose original motion overwhelmingly supported the reforms, and leaves health secretary Andrew Lansley now facing having to re-negotiate the terms of the bill, or see Liberal Democrats vote against them.
Why is the government planning a big shakeup of the NHS in England?
The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, says that while the NHS is world-class in some respects, and employs leading medical figures, it is still not good enough in some key areas of care. “For example, rates of mortality amenable to healthcare, rates of mortality for some respiratory diseases and some cancers, and some measures of stroke, have been among the worst in the developed world. International evidence also shows the NHS has much further to go on managing care more effectively,” says the Department of Health. Doctors have cast doubt on the evidence underpinning some of Lansley’s claims about the quality of NHS care, and critics argue that his “modernisation” changes will usher in widespread privatisation of NHS services.
What is the government proposing?
Arguably the most radical restructuring of the NHS since it was created in 1948. England’s 150 or so primary care trusts will be wound up in 2013 and their work, commissioning healthcare, will pass to groups of GPs called general practice commissioning consortiums (GPCCs). Each GPCC, perhaps including scores of existing practices, will have its own budget. The consortiums will have £80bn of NHS funds in all, and agree contracts with hospitals and others. Almost 200 GPCCs have already been set up.
The British Medical Association said health secretary Andrew Lansley should dump his bill and adopt an ‘evolution not revolution’ approach.
While agreeing with some central points, such as clinicians having more of a say in decision making and better information for patients, doctors argued the proposals went too far, too fast.
BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum addressed almost 400 doctors at the meeting in central London, saying reforms could have ‘irreversible consequences’.
He said: ‘But, as on so many occasions, it’s the reality not the rhetoric that counts and it’s the reality that is causing all the problems.
‘Because what we have seen is an often contradictory set of proposals, driven by ideology rather than evidence, enshrined in ill-thought-through legislation and implemented in a rush during a major economic downturn.’
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans to reform the NHS have been heavily criticised by doctors, but they stopped short of rejecting the Health and Social Care Bill outright.
Approximately 400 doctors attended an emergency meeting called by the British Medical Association (BMA) in London to debate and vote on the government’s reforms, with 43% in favour of rejecting the Bill completely, with 54% against, and 3% abstaining.
They called on Mr Lansley to “adopt an approach of evolution not revolution regarding any changes to the NHS in England” and that the government must respond to criticisms regarding the Bill and accept ministers had “no electoral mandate” for the plans.
The Labour Party launched a petition to save the NHS on Tuesday as BMA members discussed the Health Bill at an emergency meeting in London.
27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.
I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.
Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.