NHS news ** UPDATED ** Missed many news links in the original posting

Of note:

Ed Miliband, leader of the UK Labour Party performs well yesterday against Prime Minister David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Question Time on the destruction of the NHS issue.

David Cameron accuses Ed Miliband of publishing (reading actually) a union press release. There’s a strange ring about that. The BMA is hardly a union – more of a professional body.

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.

UPDATED Missed many news links in the original posting

Outing the NHS reformers

Just as yesterday the British Medical Society urged Andrew Lansley to scrap ‘top-down reforms’ of the NHS, today we see the government’s champions hit the airwaves.

Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show this lunchtime featured two such champions, one introduced as a GP, the other a ‘health expert’. The former, Dr Paul Charlson, is indeed a GP in favour of Lansley’s reforms. He also runs a private centre which specialises in cosmetic anti aging treatments (Botox), not typical of most GPs.

Charlson is also spokesperson for a lobby group called Doctors for Reform, which is supported by the free-market think tank, Reform. Funding for Reform has come from the UK’s largest private hospital group, General Healthcare Group and other private health companies set to benefit from Lansley’s reforms.

Vine’s ‘health expert’ was Dr Helen Evans, director of Nurses for Reform. Its funding is more opaque, but it does have ties to many free-market think tanks that favour privatisation. These include the Adam Smith Institute and the Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank that promotes “the opening up [of] state monopolies” in health.

Evans has labelled the NHS “a Stalinist, nationalised abhorrence”.

As the criticism of the NHS reforms gets louder, expect to hear more from these two.

BBC News – Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust cuts 125 jobs

Up to 125 jobs are set to be cut at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, managers have revealed.

The trust said the measure was needed to save £8.5m in the next financial year – 5% of its budget – and avert “more radical proposals”.

Other cost-cutting measures include a recruitment freeze and reviewing the trust’s structure and roles.

Managers have blamed government-imposed cuts, a reduction in treatment payments and changes to NHS financing.

NHS ‘privatisation’ bill ‘hangs in the balance’ says Unite [press release]

‘privatisation’ bill hangs in the balance, as opposition continues to mount, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Wednesday 16 March).

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health sector, said that the country faced the biggest battle to save the NHS in its present form since its inception in 1948.

Unite said that health secretary Andrew Lansley and his ministers needed to radically rethink the bill to guarantee that the NHS is the preferred provider of choice – not private healthcare firms, some of which have bankrolled the Conservative party.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: ”The government is on the back foot over its Health and Social Care bill, following the opposition voiced by the British Medical Association yesterday and the Liberal Democrats at last weekend’s spring conference.

NHS reforms mean GPs could double their income to £300,000 a year | Society | The Guardian

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.

Leading article: NHS reform: ideology, rather than pragmatism – Leading Articles, Opinion – The Independent

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.

NHS reforms: what will happen and why | Society | The Guardian

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.

Has Cameron declared war on the BMA? | Left Foot Forward

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, David Cameron complained of “roadblocks” to reform of the NHS, but at first did not refer directly to the British Medical Association; the doctors’ representative body, who called yesterday for the NHS bill to be dumped.

Then, in his answer to Ed Miliband’s final question, he said:

“He should remember the fact that the BMA opposed foundation hospitals, they opposed GP fundholding, they opposed longer opening hours for GPs’ surgeries.

“Isn’t it typical, just as he has to back every other trade union, just as he has no ideas of his own, he comes here and just reads a BMA press release.”

UPDATE follows

BBC News – NHS reforms: David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash

Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of “threatening the fabric” of the NHS as the two men clashed over the government’s proposed health reforms.

The Labour leader said the government was “wrecking” Labour’s legacy and urged changes to plans to give GPs control over most NHS commissioning.

But Mr Cameron accused Labour of “setting its face” against changes needed to boost patient care.

New Statesman – PMQs review: Cameron rattled by Miliband’s NHS attack

Rarely has David Cameron appeared as rattled as he did at today’s PMQs. Ed Miliband’s decision to lead on the coalition’s troubled NHS reforms proved fortuitous as the Prime Minister struggled to offer a coherent defence of his Health Bill.

Asked if he was planning any further amendments, Cameron prattled on about “cutting bureaucracy” and disingenuously claimed that the coalition would prevent “cherry-picking” by the private sector. As is frequently the case, his disregard for detail let him down. Asked if it was true that the NHS would be subject to EU competition law for the first time in its history, the PM appeared either unwilling or unable to answer Miliband’s question.

Instead, for the third time in recent months, he selectively quoted from a speech by John Healey in which the shadow health secretary declared that “no one in the House of Commons knows more about the NHS than Andrew Lansley . . . these plans are consistent, coherent and comprehensive. I would expect nothing less from Andrew Lansley.”

What Cameron failed to acknowledge is that Healey went on to argue:

They [the Conservatives] believe that competition drives innovation, that price competition brings better value, that profit motivates performance, and that the private sector is better than the public sector. I acknowledge the ambition but I condemn this as the core philosophy being forced into the heart of the NHS. It’s wrong for patients. It’s wrong for our NHS. It’s wrong for Britain.

BBC – Democracy Live – PMQs: Cameron accused of ignoring BMA over NHS reforms

Labour has accused the government of “arrogance” for pushing ahead with NHS reforms despite recent criticism from the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Liberal Democrat spring conference.

At prime minister’s questions on 16 March 2011, opposition leader Ed Miliband asked whether the PM would amend the plans in response to the demands of Lib Dem delegates calling for a halt to the “damaging and unjustified” shake-up of GP services in England.

Meanwhile the BMA described measures that would increase competition in the NHS as “dangerous and risky”.

Mr Miliband accused Prime Minister David Cameron of “ignoring people who know something about the health service” and creating “a free-market free-for-all”.

NHS reforms will see ‘shut’ signs on hospitals, patients warned | Society | The Guardian

Hospitals will shut, others will lose their accident and emergency or maternity units, and some will be downgraded to glorified health centres because of the government’s NHS shakeup, the head of England’s leading hospitals has warned.

Sue Slipman, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, told the Guardian that handing GPs control of £80bn of NHS funds, letting private healthcare firms provide treatment and giving patients more choice about where they are treated – key policies promoted by the health secretary, Andrew Lansley – would increase existing pressures on hospitals so much that some will not survive.

“There will be some ‘shut’ signs; I suspect there will be some closures. There will be fewer A&E departments and in urban centres there may well be fewer maternity units,” said Slipman, who predicted unprecedented changes to hospitals over the next few years.

Hospitals will shut, others will lose their accident and emergency or maternity units, and some will be downgraded to glorified health centres because of the government’s NHS shakeup, the head of England’s leading hospitals has warned.

Sue Slipman, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, told the Guardian that handing GPs control of £80bn of NHS funds, letting private healthcare firms provide treatment and giving patients more choice about where they are treated – key policies promoted by the health secretary, Andrew Lansley – would increase existing pressures on hospitals so much that some will not survive.

“There will be some ‘shut’ signs; I suspect there will be some closures. There will be fewer A&E departments and in urban centres there may well be fewer maternity units,” said Slipman, who predicted unprecedented changes to hospitals over the next few years.

Tory MPs accused of false election promises over NHS | Politics | The Guardian

The general election battle was in full swing last April in the marginal seat of Bury North when shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley paid a visit to help the Conservative candidate, David Nuttall. Understandably he offered his opinions on a huge local issue: the plan to close the children’s department, including a maternity unit and special care baby unit for ill newborns, at Fairfield general hospital, the town’s much-loved hospital.

As Nuttall’s blog entry for that day records: “Andrew Lansley has reviewed the latest figures for the number of births across Greater Manchester and today said: ‘If I am secretary of state for health after the election, maternity and children’s services will be maintained at Fairfield and I will ensure this happens. In the long term there will be no change without the consent of GPs … who will in our reforms be responsible for commissioning local services’.”

Under the headline “Conservatives will maintain children’s services at Fairfield”, Nuttall added: “The choice for voters in Bury North is clear: vote Labour and these services will be axed from Fairfield. Vote Conservative and if there is a Conservative government the maternity department will be kept open.”

BBC News – Social care ‘facing funding gap of over £1bn’

Social care is facing a funding gap of more than £1bn by 2014 in England – a situation which would have consequences for the NHS, a leading think-tank says.

The King’s Fund analysis predicted councils would struggle to protect home help and care home places as they come to terms with funding cuts.

The report said if this happened there could be more admissions to hospital and longer delays in discharging.

But the government said it did not believe there would be a funding gap.

NHS reforms Q&A: why are hospital services being shut? | Society | The Guardian

Why are hospital services being shut?

Too many hospitals in the wrong places. As towns become cities and population shifts and ages, ministers must reconfigure hospitals and consider closing wards and departments; Labour began doing so.

Why is all this now a problem for Andrew Lansley?

Once Tory leader, David Cameron promised a “bare-knuckle fight” over ward closures. In the election, both sides made extraordinary promises. In a tour of northern constituencies, Lansley pledged to reopen closed hospital wards and A&E departments.

What happened once Lansley took office?

Lansley announced in May 2010 an end to “top-down forced closures”. Instead, health trusts would have to pass several tests to make a closure: support from GP commissioners, better public and patient engagement, and clear clinical evidence to justify the change. But of three dozen closure proposals, only one, Chase Farm in north London, has seen him intervene, merely to delay the decision a month. Lansley has not reopened any services closed under Labour.

BBC News – Unison slams Surrey and Sussex NHS over parking charges

A move to charge hospital staff for parking will cause NHS workers financial hardship, a union has said.

Unison has described the plans by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust as a “hammer blow” to its members.

But a statement issued by the trust said the plans would help to cut congestion and encourage “greener” ways of travelling, such as car sharing.

 

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.

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dizzy

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