- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has hit out at the government’s plans for NHS reform, warning that the changes will ‘betray the values of the NHS’.
Speaking at the Labour party annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Mr Miliband received a standing ovation and the largest applause during his speech when he warned ‘you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS’.
He said the government’s reform plans will undermine the values of the NHS as the reorganisation will create a ‘free-market healthcare system’.
The Labour leader also criticised prime minister David Cameron, outlining that he ‘betrayed voters’ trust’ by U-turning on his election promise to end top-down reorganisations in the NHS.
Mr Miliband said: ‘When I look at everything this Tory government is doing, frankly it is the NHS that shocks me most. Why? Because David Cameron told us he was different. You remember. The posters. The soundbites.
‘David Cameron knew the British people did not trust the Tories with the NHS. So he told us he wasn’t the usual type of Tory. And he asked for your trust. And then he got into Downing Street. And within a year he’d gone back on every word he said.’
Channel 4 News learns union bosses are calling for a campaign of civil disobedience and sit-ins as well as strikes over the spending cuts, with one leader saying he is “prepared to go to jail”.
Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, said activists should “rule nothing out” as they prepare to fight the coalition’s austerity measures with increasing militancy.
He blamed this summer’s riots on the cuts and predicted worse violence next year as the effects of spending cuts take effect. Addressing a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis called the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats “b******ds“ and ended his speech to union members by declaring that a revolution “starts here”.
GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said he was prepared to go to jail as part of a wave of non-violent protests and occupations.
Mr Kenny said: “I want direct action – I’m not talking about violent direct action. If that means I go to jail then I’m prepared to go to jail. I’m not prepared to be a martyr. But when I look at my kids and grandchildren I want to be able to say I did everything I did to protect them and their inheritance.”
Mr McCluskey accused the coalition of “peddling fear” before predicting that government measures would lead to a repeat of the riots seen across England earlier this year.
He said: “You’ve only got to look around as these attacks start to take place and social cohesion breaks down. We have one million young people out of a job and without hope, and people wonder why in our inner cities they get drawn into gang culture. There’s nowhere else to go. There’s nowhere else to belong.”
He went on: “I don’t take any pleasure in what we’ve seen in our inner cities”, but added that as the cuts continue to bite, “next summer we could find ourselves with even worse riots on our streets”.
The Unite boss urged the coalition to consider alternatives to cutting public services, saying: “Find the money. We’ve found the money for illegal wars. We found the money to bail out the banks. By the billion, we’ve found the money when it suits them.”
Sir David Nicholson says health minister is wrong to block failing foundation hospitals from returning to direct NHS control
The government’s health reforms ran into further trouble on Tuesday when the chief executive of the NHS publicly challenged a key proposal.
As peers prepare to table a series of amendments to the health and social care bill, Sir David Nicholson said the government was wrong to block failing foundation hospitals from returning to direct NHS control.
Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, wants to repeal a provision in the 2006 National Health Service Act which allows for the “de-authorisation” of failing foundation trusts, triggering their return to NHS control. The change is designed to strengthen foundation trusts – a central element of the government’s plans to decentralise power in the NHS – which will eventually take over the running of all hospitals in England.
In evidence to the public inquiry into failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, Nicholson called on the government to retain the renationalisation of a failing trust in its “armoury”. Nicholson is understood to have voiced, in private, reservations about the Lansley plan, which was introduced as an amendments to the bill after the government’s “listening exercise” on the NHS reforms.
Nicholson told the inquiry: “I do think that the opportunity in a sense to renationalise a foundation trust should be part of the armoury of any government in these circumstances. It’s not one shared, I have to say, by the government. But it’s something that I believe to be the case.”
Asked by Tom Kark QC, counsel to the inquiry, whether his proposal went against the government’s central policy, Nicholson hesitated, then said: “They want all organisations to be foundation trusts, but I believe that from time to time it may be necessary for the state to take the direct management of an organisation.” Labour will lambast the health reforms at the party’s conference in Liverpool on Wednesday.