Nick Clegg has split from his coalition partners on the role of the health regulator, Monitor.
Clegg also seems to be having a dig at his coalition partners:”People get confused when one day they hear politicians declare how much they love the NHS and the next they hear people describing themselves as government advisers saying that reform is a huge opportunity for big profits for health care corporations.”
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Chief Executive Phil Gray claims that the destroy the NHS bill always intended to turn the NHS into a state insurance provider.
Cameron distances himself from his adviser Mark Britnell after remarks about turning the NHS into a “state insurance provider, not a state deliverer” of care.
- 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.
Nick Clegg today demanded a concession in the NHS reforms by saying that an official regulator should promote co-operation rather than competition between health providers.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s intervention piqued some supporters of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who said his plans had always been focused on “quality” rather than price.
He also criticised David Cameron at a private meeting of Liberal Democrat MPs for declaring his “love for the NHS” while taking advice from people talking up the potential for private profits. Mr Cameron was said to be relaxed at the comments made by his Liberal Democrat deputy.
Mr Lansley appeared willing to give ground for the sake of the Coalition, saying: “This is not Henry V on St Crispin’s Day – a one man on horseback approach.” Under the NHS plans, the independent regulator will get a new role as an “economic regulator”. Mr Clegg said there should be a duty to promote collaboration, which might ease pressure on struggling units.
He also said: “People get confused when one day they hear politicians declare how much they love the NHS and the next they hear people describing themselves as government advisers saying that reform is a huge opportunity for big profits for health care corporations.”
Nick Clegg is expected to propose further amendments to the Health Bill over the next few weeks as he attempts to appease his party over the scale and pace of the reforms, writes Victoria Macdonald.
On Tuesday night, the Deputy Prime Minister presented a page-long document to the weekly meeting of his parliamentary party in which he singled out the role of Monitor, the NHS regulator, as the area of the Bill needing the most substantial change.
The document, which was later leaked, suggests removing all references to Monitor being an economic regulator.
“Instead of having a duty to promote competition, Monitor’s main duty should be explicitly to protect and promote the interests of patients,” Nick Clegg wrote.
He said the decision to establish it as an economic regulator was clearly a misjudgment and that the NHS could not be treated as if it were just a utility “like electricity or telephones”.
But his party has tabled more than 21 substantial amendments to the Bill and while Mr Clegg has picked out one of the key elements, which goes to the heart of the legislation, Lib Dem insiders say they expect him to deal with issues such as accountability of the commissioning boards, and conflicts of interest where GPs buying care for patients also have financial interests in companies providing treatments.
CSP chief executive Phil Gray argues that the government’s NHS reform plans always intended to turn the NHS into a state insurance provider, not a state deliverer.
Writing in a letter to the Guardian, published today, Mr Gray says health secretary Andrew Lansley made clear his objectives in his white paper and the subsequent Health and Social Care Bill.
Mr Gray was writing in response to David Cameron’s speech on Monday, setting out the case for the NHS reforms.
David Cameron has distanced himself from Mark Britnell, a member of the “kitchen cabinet” advising him on health, after he said the government’s reforms would transform the NHS into a “state insurance provider, not a state deliverer” of care.
Cameron said he had never heard of Britnell before the weekend, despite the fact that the adviser – the head of health at accountancy giant KPMG – was invited to join a group of senior health policy experts in Downing Street earlier this month. The “kitchen cabinet”, which includes former NHS executives and the former Department of Health permanent secretary Lord Crisp, was assembled by Cameron’s special adviser on health, Paul Bate.
“He [Britnell] is not my adviser,” Cameron told MPs, insisting he had “never heard about this person in my life” before it emerged on Sunday that Britnell told a conference of executives from the private sector last year that future reforms would show “no mercy” to the NHS.
Britnell also told the conference, held in New York, that the reforms would offer a “big opportunity” to the for-profit sector and suggested the NHS could be improved by charging patients.