Only a few NHS news items so far today. Lansley has admitted that all London hospitals will have to transform into foundation trusts. This appears to be counter to Tory “no top-down reorganisation” ‘commitments’. Later 13/5/11 edit: Yes, hardly noteworthy compared to the bill to abolish the NHS being a top-down reorganisation, of course.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Health Minister Andrew Lansley must do more than listen – he must hear and act on the barrage of criticism and opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill. This is the message from UNISON, the UK’s largest union, representing more than 450,000 health workers, in its response to the NHS ‘Listening Exercise’.
Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:
“Andrew Lansley seems incapable of actually hearing the outcry from patients, public, staff, health experts, charities, health economists and even from within the coalition government.
“The public do not want a health service where people can buy their way to the top of the NHS queue, or where healthcare is rationed to make profits for private companies and their shareholders. We know that three quarters of bankruptcies in America are because of the high cost of health bills – no one wants the NHS to be dragged in that direction.
“The Government’s plans are riddled with conflicts of interest and undermine the accountability of the NHS to patients and the public. Patients will soon be priced out of care and see services, wards and hospitals lost without any arrangement to continue treatment.
“We believe the bill is too fatally flawed to be amended and should be dropped completely. ”
The government has admitted for the first time that health services on the ground in London will have to change because of NHS reorganisation.
The coalition is turning every hospital in London into a foundation trust, with more control over its own spending.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has told BBC London this will inevitably mean changes to the way services are delivered.
A series of hospital mergers is already planned in the city.
Foundation trusts are still within the NHS – but have more freedom to make their own decisions and more freedom over how they spend their money.
The government’s promise to pause its bill on NHS reforms for a listening exercise is a mere “political device”, a medical boss has said.
Speaking to politics.co.uk, Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) council, said David Cameron should withdraw the health and social care bill completely rather than amend the legislation.
“At the risk of using a very abused phrase, I agree with Nick [Clegg] that ‘no bill is better than a bad bill’,” he said. His comments underline the difficulties faced by ministers as they seek to identify areas of compromise.
Extensive negotiations with health secretary Andrew Lansley and senior government officials have seen the BMA united with other health organisations in opposing the bulk of the legislation.