The main NHS news story is that the House of Lords did not stop the progress of the Health and Social Care / Destroy the NHS Bill. The Lords voted on two amendments, both of which were defeated: One by Lord (David) Owen to refer the bill to a special committee and the other by Lord Rea to refuse the bill a second reading arguing that it was a huge “top-down” reorganisation which had not appeared in the Conservatives’ manifesto or the coalition agreement.
There will be many more votes by the Lords on the Health and Social Care / Destroy the NHS Bill.
40% of GPs expect to not be working for the NHS in ten years time.
- 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 Archbishop of York spoke against the Government’s controversial health reforms today as they were debated in the House of Lords.
Dr John Sentamu said he had received excellent treatment at three NHS teaching hospitals – St Thomas’s and University College in London, and York earlier this year for treatment to his rotator cuff around the shoulder.
He said the proposed reforms were not in the Government’s manifesto and cited the Archbishop of Canterbury’s concerns about the “remarkable speed” of radical, long-term policy changes.
The Government’s controversial bill cleared the Lords hurdle, after peers voted 330 to 262 against referring it to a special committee.
DAVID Cameron still faces a war over his hated NHS reforms despite the House of Lords voting yesterday not to kill off the privatisation plans.
Hopes that peers would prevent the health service being opened up to profit-making companies were dashed when scores of Lib Dems voted with the Tories.
But it is not the end of the Parliamentary process and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has warned ministers that opposition is “formidable”.
He said: “The best thing would be to drop the Bill so the NHS can focus on the financial challenge and get the NHS through the dangerous period.
“Instead the Government is locking it into a period of limbo – this protracted debate.
“But let’s be clear: this fight is going on. It will be debated over weeks, even months in the House of Lords, line by line, clause by clause. And Labour will be wanting substantial and drastic changes to it.
“The Government are digging in here. They are digging in for the long haul and that is not going to help our NHS.”
Mr Burnham also pointed out that the “listening exercise” ordered by Mr Cameron in a bid to head off resistance to his proposals had failed to win over medics.
Ministers face a guerrilla war from peers over their plans for reform of the health service – despite winning two crucial votes in the House of Lords.
The Lords voted yesterday to give a second reading for the Health and Social Care Bill and threw out a separate attempt to hold it up. But Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, will still have an uphill struggle to get the contentious measure on to the statute book.
Critics of the measures, including Liberal Democrat peers and crossbenchers, have already identified several issues on which they believe they can muster a majority against the Government. Among the potential flashpoints are moves to increase competition, the role of the watchdog Monitor, changes to the structure of the health service and changes to the Health Secretary’s constitutional position.
One Labour frontbencher said the Lords authorities should “dust off the camp-beds” in anticipation of late-night sittings during the Bill’s committee stage. A former Labour cabinet minister added: “The fight is only just starting.”
Peers rejected by 330 to 262 votes an attempt by Lord Owen, the former SDP leader, and Lord Hennessy, the constitutional expert, to refer the Bill to a special committee. The Lords also voted down a bid to kill off the legislation altogether.
By 354 to 220 votes they defeated a call from the Labour peer Lord Rea, a former GP, to refuse the Bill a second reading.
The legislation now moves to the committee stage in the Lords, where it will undergo detailed scrutiny.
The fight against the NHS reforms is not over, GP leaders have vowed, after the House of Lords did not back a call for the withdrawal of the Health Bill in a key vote on Wednesday.
After a two-day debate in the House of Lords, an amendment for the Bill to be scrapped was not supported by a majority of peers.
A separate amendment calling for sections of the Bill to be submitted to a select committee for in-depth scrutiny was also not backed by peers.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said he was not surprised by the outcome of the votes, but he is still hopeful that the peers will demand substantial changes to the Health Bill during committee stage in the House of Lords.
He said the outcome of today’s vote does not impact on the BMA’s campaign for the Health Bill to be scrapped.
He said: ‘There will be no change in [the BMA’s] strategy. We have been absolutely clear about what we want.
‘This is simply the start of a long process of discussion in the House of Lords. We will continue to inform peers about what our concerns are, which will ultimately lead to substantial amendments to the Bill.’
Labour peer Baroness Thornton of Manningham also said the Bill still has a ‘long way to go in the Lords’.
Four out of 10 GPs do not expect to be working to an NHS contract in 10 years’ time strengthening fears of a ‘recruitment and retention crisis’.
The Healthcare Index published by Lloyds TSB Commercial, which talked to 208 GPs as well as dentists and pharmacists, found confidence in the future of the healthcare sector is very low with only 59% of GPs expect to still be working to an NHS contract in ten years time.
A spokeswoman for the researchers said that overall confidence in the future of the GP sector reflects widespread concern around finances and growing competition with 94% of GPs are expecting further financial pressures over the next five years and 92% anticipate increased competition in the market place over the same period.
Consolidation is expected in the GP profession, with 82% expecting a rise in the number of larger practices, potentially as a response to the formation of commissioning groups.
GPC deputy chair and Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse: ‘These figures suggest a series level of anxiety within the profession about the future of NHS general practice which is being created by the Government in England’s Health and Social Care Bill.’
‘This anxiety is also reflected in the drop in the number of young doctors who are considering general practice as a career and the increased number of older GPs who are looking to retire early.’
‘There is a real risk that we are going to return to the recruitment and retention crisis that we saw prior to the introduction of the new GMS contract.’
Dozens of senior South West medical professionals have united in their condemnation of planned healthcare reforms over concerns quality will be compromised for profit.
The Government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill is roundly rejected by 37 health experts in a letter to the Western Morning News today – despite the shake-up last night edging closer to becoming passed into law.
The letter, whose signatories include public health doctors, dentists and researchers from across the region, claims the proposed legislation “threatens to liberate the Government from its responsibility for securing the provision of a comprehensive health service”. It says the Bill, should it become an Act, would pave the way for private businesses to compete with NHS service and not-for-profit companies for multi-million-pound contracts to run hospitals. “This means profit before patient care”, the experts suggest.
Today’s outright refusal by the senior medical professionals to accept the reforms – which the Department for Health says will give patients more choice, root out waste and offer NHS staff more power to improve care – adds to the growing number of critics, robustly defiant of these changes.
It also serves to underline the ridicule – particularly during a recent Prime Minister’s Questions – which has followed David Cameron’s claim that “the whole health profession is on board” for the reforms. In an interview with the WMN in August, the Prime Minister attempted to pour cold water on the flames of discontent, even within the Coalition, concerning the reforms.
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.
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