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.

Friday, 10 February

Cameron should scrap NHS bill and drop Lansley, says influential Tory blog

ConservativeHome editor says health secretary has failed to win public support for health and social care billDavid Cameron has been urged to replace Andrew Lansley and drop large chunks of the health bill by the Conservative party’s most widely read and influential website.

Tim Montgomerie, the editor of ConservativeHome, said in a post published on Friday that Lansley, the health secretary, had failed to win public support for the legislation and that, if the Tories did not back down, every problem with the NHSover the next three years would be blamed on the bill. The ConservativeHome intervention is particularly damaging to Cameron because Montgomerie says he was encouraged to speak out by three Conservative cabinet minsters who believe that pressing ahead with the bill would be folly. “One was insistent the bill must be dropped. Another said Andrew Lansley must be replaced. Another likened the NHS reforms to the poll tax,” says Montgomerie in his article. “The consensus is that the prime minister needs an external shock to wake him to the scale of the problem.”

The unnecessary and unpopular NHS Bill could cost the Conservative Party the next election. Cameron must kill it.

The NHS was long the Conservative Party’s Achilles heel. David Cameron’s greatest political achievement as Leader of the Opposition was to neutralise health as an issue. The greatest mistake of his time as Prime Minister has been to put it back at the centre of political debate.

Many Conservatives think that the NHS needs fundamental reform but for far-reaching reform to succeed certain pre-conditions must be met. The public needs to have been persuaded that substantial change is necessary. The Government cannot be distracted by other consuming projects but its best brains must be focused and single-minded in ensuring the policy’s success. The Whitehall machine needs to be prepared and co-operative. The Health Secretary needs to enjoy significant goodwill amongst NHS staff and possess exceptional communication skills. Few – perhaps none – of those preconditions exist.

CSC confirms $1.5bn NHS IT write-off

Discussions between government and supplier over scope of National Programme for IT work continue

CSC has confirmed it is to write-off almost $1.5bn as a result of its involvement in the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

In December 2011 the company, which had been contracted to supply electronic patient records systems to a number of NHS trusts, warned shareholders it may lose an amount equal to, or in excess of, its $1.49bn investment in the NPfIT.

The Lib Dem dozen demanding release of “secret” NHS risk register

The drive to force Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to release the NHS risk register will also be ringing alarm bells in Downing Street.

A dozen MPs have signed the early day motion tabled by Labour MP Grahame Morris demanding ministers publish the document – which he claims could reveal a “cost surge” related to controversial NHS reforms and finish them off.

Here are the names of those Lib Dems to sign the motion – backed by 75 MPs in total:

Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole)
Mike Crockart (Edinburgh West)
Andrew George (St Ives)
Duncan Hames (Chippenham)
Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South)
Martin Horwood (Cheltenham)
Julian Huppert (Cambridge)
John Leech (Manchester Withington)
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West)
John Pugh (Southport)
Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute)
Bob Russell (Colchester)

And an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons on publication of the NHS risk register is now scheduled for 22 February.

Mr Morris said: “Our suspicion is that it identifies a cost surge and one of the Government’s principle justifications for the Health and Social Care Bill is that this reorganisation will bring about the delivery of improved outcomes in a more efficient manner.

“Our suspicion is that the risk register suggests that may not be the case.

Saturday, 11 February

Miliband writes to lords over NHS reforms

Ed Miliband has taken the unusual step of writing to every member of the House of Lords in an attempt to block key parts of the coalition’s NHS reform Bill.

“On behalf of my Party, I want to extend this offer to peers of all parties and of none: we will work with you to stop this Bill damaging the NHS,” he wrote.

“Recent weeks and months have shown just how widely the concerns about this Bill are shared – not just among patients and the public, but also among doctors, nurses and other NHS staff.

“The Government would have us believe that those who oppose this Bill are ‘vested interests’. I think that is deeply insulting to people who have devoted their lives to working in the NHS and care about its future.”


Sunday, 12 February

The firm that hijacked the NHS: MoS investigation reveals extraordinary extent of international management consultant’s role in Lansley’s health reforms

  • McKinsey & Company paid for NHS regulator staff to go to lavish events
  • Many Health and Social Care Bill proposals drawn up by the company
  • Document shows it has used access to share information with other clients
  • McKinsey also worked closely with previous government and on disastrous Railtrack privatisation under John Major


A Mail on Sunday investigation, based on hundreds of official documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, has revealed the full extent of McKinsey’s myriad links to the controversial reforms

Many of the Bill’s proposals were drawn up by McKinsey and included in the legislation wholesale. One document says the firm has used its privileged access to ‘share information’ with its corporate clients – which include the world’s biggest private hospital firms – who are now set to bid for health service work.

McKinsey’s involvement in the Bill is so great that its executives attend the meetings of the ‘Extraordinary NHS Management Board’ convened to implement it. Sometimes McKinsey even hosts these meetings at its UK headquarters in Jermyn Street, Central London.

The company is already benefiting from contracts worth undisclosed millions with GPs arising from the Bill. It has earned at least £13.8million from Government health policy since the Coalition took office – and the Bill opens up most of the current £106 billion NHS budget to the private sector, with much of it likely to go to McKinsey clients.


‘Parasitical’ firms condemned


Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public slammed “parasite” management consultancy firms today following revelations that a firm heavily involved in drafting the government’s health “reforms” paid for NHS regulator staff to attend luxury events.

The group spoke out after the true scale of US firm McKinsey’s role in drafting proposals for Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill was laid bare.

Freedom of Information research by lobbying industry monitor Spinwatch has revealed that not only do many of the Bill’s reforms originate with McKinsey but the firm has also been using its position to share information with private clients set to bid to carry out health services.

At the same time its has paid for senior staff at Monitor, the NHS regulator, to go on lavish international trips and high-brow theatre events.

Keep Our NHS Public’s Professor Wendy Savage said: “The Health Bill is a bonanza for management consultants like McKinsey.

They earn money from the giant private health companies trying to sell services to the NHS.

“They earn money from the commissioning groups being set up to buy services from these companies.

“And they earn money from advising the Department of Health on how to drag the NHS down the road to private provision and private insurance.

“The conflicts of interest involved are staggering. The only way to prevent these parasites from feasting on the corpse of the NHS is for the Prime Minister to intervene and bury the health Bill once and for all.”

Only one in four back NHS reforms

Only one in four people supports the Government’s controversial health reforms, according to a trade union study today.

A survey of over 1,600 adults by Unison also found that almost two thirds do not trust the Government to handle the NHS. Less than a third were in favour of GPs having the power to commission health services from private companies – a central plank of the reforms.

Only 12% of 2010 Lib Dem voters supported the bill and just 20% trusted the Government’s handling of the NHS, the research found.

Two thirds of 2010 Lib Dem voters were against private companies being commissioned by GPs to provide services.

Unison urged the Government to listen to patients, health professionals, unions, Royal Colleges, think tanks, and to the public, and to drop its bill.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “The Government has to drop its Health and Social Care Bill. Unison’s poll shows that the hundreds of amendments, and the so-called listening exercise simply haven’t worked.

Related: You Gov poll for UNISON reveals that 62% don’t trust the government with the NHS

Risks Of NHS Reform Hang On PM’s Shoulders


For David Cameron, this is the most high-risk high wire act of his premiership.

He has moved decisively to quash speculation that he’s contemplating ditching both Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, and his contentious health reform bill.

In an article in The Sunday Times he says he’s “at one” with the man, and the plan.

But this comes in the teeth of bitter opposition from professional bodies representing three quarters of the NHS workforce, and a succession of reverses in parliament.

A recent Lords defeat is expected to be followed by more in coming days.

Expert challenges ‘myth’ of falling NHS productivity


Official figures have failed to reflect recent improvements in the NHS in England, according to the Lancet.

It says a myth has grown up that the health service became less productive as funding increased.

The author, a leading policy expert, says the government has used this to defend its NHS reforms – and that Labour has not defended its record.

The Department of Health said it wanted to make “every penny” invested in the NHS count.

The paper argues that politicians have reached a flawed consensus that NHS productivity fell in the decade after 2000.

Related: NHS productivity has risen in 10 years, undermining Lansley’s case, says study


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
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