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.

Pulse reported yesterday that Tower Hamlets CCG (Care Commissioning Group) have called on the government to drop the Health and Social Care / Destroy the NHS Bill. This huge news story has received very little attention by the corporate press.  From the Guardian’s NHS reforms live blog.

Breaking news – and it’s another plea for the government to drop the health and social care bill altogether, not simply amend it further. Tower Hamlets clinical commissioning group in east London has become the first CCG to ask for the legislation to be withdrawn.

While a growing list of medical organisations has already adopted the same position, including the BMA and various medical royal colleges, this CCG’s action is significant because David Cameron has sought to portray the spread of CCGs across England as evidence of GPs’ enthusiasm for the NHS shake-up.

Plus, this particular vote of no-confidence has been authored by no less than Dr Sam Everington, a widely respected GP who used to advise Andrew Lansley, and whose Bromley-by-Bow surgery in Tower Hamlets hosted the health secretary’s first speech soon after the 2010 general election.

Pulse, the magazine and website for GPs, has an exclusive story that reports that Everington, the chair of the NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commisisoning Group, has written to the prime minister asking for the bill to be scrapped because his “rolling restructuring of the NHS compromises our ability to focus on what really counts”. Efforts to further improve patient care through clinically-led commissioning – a key element of the bill – could still be made “without the bureaucracy generated by the bill”, Everington adds.

As Pulse reports: “The moves marks the first time a CCG has publicly called for the bill to be withdrawn and comes after Pulse revealed last month [that] some commissioning leaders were concerned that the government had ‘lost the narrative’ on the reforms.”

The letter states: “We support a strong role for clinical involvement in commissioning decisions that lead to better health outcomes for our patients. We do this already in Tower Hamlets. An Act of Parliament is not needed to make this happen.”

In what Pulse deputy editor Steve Nowottny calls “a big blow to the government”, Everington goes on to say that his CCG does “share the concerns” about “the long-term implications of the bill made by our professional representative organisations, the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association”. As both those bodies are now firmly in the “drop the bill” camp, his deliberate association with them makes Everington’s letter even more embarrassing for ministers and Number 10.

Lib-Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Shirley Williams wrote a joint letter yesterday to Liberal Democrat parlimentarians. They’re demanding further changes to the Destroy the NHS Bill having been scared by Lib-Dem activist demands. I’m bored with this – read about it here.

 

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