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 debate on the Health and Social Care / Destroy the NHS Bill descended into tastelessness yesterday and today with an attack on a prominent doctor for being a successful, accomplished GP and mention of David Cameron’s sadly deceased son.

 

The Health and Social Care Bill is expected to receive a rough ride when it returns to the House of Lords today amid an ongoing row over the coalition’s planned reforms.

Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to declare his “full support” of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley as criticism of the changes continues.

Downing Street tried to end speculation about Mr Lansley’s future after claims there had been discussions about bringing back Labour health secretary Alan Milburn to replace him.

A spokesman said on Tuesday: “The Prime Minister backs Andrew Lansley and he backs the reforms we are pushing through Parliament in order to deliver a better health service for the future.”

The Bill is back in the Lords less than a week after the Royal College of GPs wrote to Mr Cameron calling for it to be scrapped.

A new poll has shown more than 90% of readers of the British Medical Journal believe the Bill should be withdrawn.

 

CAMPAIGNERS and health bosses were facing each other in the High Court today.

Retired railwayman Michael Lloyd’s bid for a judicial review of the transfer of county NHS services to a community interest company could be granted.

If it is, a judge in London’s High Court will make a ruling tomorrow on whether NHS Gloucestershire can go ahead or be forced to backtrack.

Campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts fears the transfer of nine Gloucestershire community hospitals, 10 health clinics and 3,000 staff to a community interest company could lead to the privat-isation of the National Health Service.

“I’m worried that if local health services leave the NHS they will be more vulnerable to cuts, more fragmented, more bureaucratic and less accountable,” said Mr Lloyd, 75.

NHS Gloucestershire has said it wants timely resolution of outstanding legal matters and that concluding the arrangements for the transfer is in the interests of patients and staff and will ensure service continuity and stability.

 

Is reform of the NHS doomed to fail?

Andrew Lansley’s shakeup of the NHS won’t work, says Randeep Ramesh, because you can’t downsize healthcare

When Nigel Lawson, the former Conservative chancellor, remarked that the NHS was the closest thing to a national religion that the English have, he encapsulated an inconvenient truth: that challenging belief in the good of a state-financed, state-run health service could end in, as the editors of three medical journals put it last week, an “unholy mess”. The English are simply too heavily invested emotionally in the NHS to change it too much, too quickly.

This is the politics that has led Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, to proclaim that there are three months to save the health service from Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, and his radical shakeup.

No matter how much Lansley gives up of his original vision of a market-driven, patient-centred NHS, the bill – which is back in the Lords with some 100 amendments – is politically toxic. No party wants to go into the local elections in May saying it has not done enough to temper the worst excesses of the founding white paper. The bill gives vent to some pretty crazy ideas: such as getting credit rating agencies to vet hospitals.

Andrew Lansley came under more fire today as the crisis deepened over the Government’s NHS reforms.

London GPs, MPs and peers urged David Cameron to consider pulling the plug on the reforms, which face a barrage of opposition from health professionals.

Even Downing Street insiders were said to be aghast at the Health Secretary’s handling of the reforms. A No 10 source was quoted in The Times saying: “Andrew Lansley should be taken out and shot. He’s messed up both the communication and the substance of the policy.”

The Health and Social Care Bill returns to the Lords tomorrow where it faces a mauling by peers despite the Government already making a string of concessions.

Today Michelle Drage, chief executive of the Londonwide Local Medical Committees which represents 6,000 GPs, said: “We want to see the chaos that has arisen from the Bill stopped and a return to the original principle of GP-led commissioning and the removal of all the aspects that relate to privatisation which have caused all of the worries among all groups in the NHS.”

 

Juggling financial cuts with patient needs threatens quality of care

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s (CSP) Annual Representative Conference, which begins in Manchester tomorrow (Wednesday), will hear how the combined effect of Government reforms of the NHS and cost cutting measures are leaving physiotherapy staff in an impossible position where they have to implement financial cutbacks yet still meet patient’s clinical needs.

A number of motions for debate, raised by the CSP’s National Group of Regional Stewards, East of England Regional Network, South Central, London and Yorkshire Stewards, will discuss the range of impacts the NHS reforms and measures to cut costs are having on physiotherapy services for patients.

Commenting, Alex MacKenzie, Chair of the CSP’s National Group of Regional Stewards, said: “Physiotherapists are between a rock and a hard place, where they are being forced to act against their professional clinical judgment because money for the right treatment is not there.

“More and more we’re hearing about rationing of services. In some cases, patients are having to see their GP twice, many weeks apart, before even getting a referral to a physio – and then they’re often only getting an assessment and exercise prescription, with limited hands-on treatment. The ability to offer the best professional care is being stripped away.”

 

Andrew Lansley has prime minister’s ‘full support’ over NHS reforms

Health and social care bill continues to come in for fierce criticism, but No 10 says health secretary has full backing

Downing Street has said the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has the prime minister’s “full support”, as pressure on the coalition government mounts over its NHS reforms.

Speculation over Lansley’s future in the cabinet was sparked by an unnamed No 10 insider quoted saying he should be “taken out and shot”.

The comment in the Times came as the health secretary faced another embarrassing blow when the Guardian reported that two doctors who had previously been prominent supporters of the proposed health service structure had turned against the reforms.

However, the prime minister’s spokeswoman dismissed the anonymous briefings, saying she “did not recognise” the name of Labour’s former health secretary Alan Milburn being floated as a possible successor.

“The prime minister backs Andrew Lansley and he backs the reforms we are pushing through parliament in order to deliver a better health service for the future,” she said.

Lansley’s health and social care bill enters the crucial report stage in the House of Lords from Wednesday, where Labour and crossbench peers are hoping to defeat the government on a number of key issues.

 

Coalition will force NHS bill on to statute book, says David Cameron

PM to get behind Andrew Lansley as No 10 suggests it may have taken eye off ball, allowing opposition to reforms to grow

David Cameron is to rally behind his health secretary Andrew Lansley on Wednesday and insist that the coalition will force its health and social care bill on to the statute book despite growing opposition within the NHS and the Conservative party.

Speculation over Lansley’s future in the cabinet was sparked by an unnamed No 10 insider being quoted saying he should be “taken out and shot”.

The briefing was described as unauthorised, but No 10 acknowledged it may have taken its eye off the ball, allowing opposition to the bill to re-emerge.

Cameron and Lansley have met within the last 48 hours to discuss tactics. There is widespread frustration inside Downing Street at the way in which the professions were brought on side, but then slipped from the coalition’s grasp over the past two months.

Cameron is to undertake a series of NHS events next week, and is said to be confident that opposition to the bill in the Lords will be overcome. He is determined to set up the battle as one between a bureaucrat-run NHS and a doctor-run NHS.

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