Tag Archives: NHS Reform

New party?

NHA PartyYesterday, the National Health Action Party launched.

The idea behind the NHA Party is one I support: since the Labour Party is unable and unwilling to properly defend the NHS against the Tory attacks – unable because it is at present a minority party with an unpopular leader, unwilling because properly doing so would involve backtracking and acknowledging that the Labour Party itself went hellishly wrong during the Blair years – there must be political pressure on Labour to force them to act when, as I hope, they win the next election.

Founded by a group of health professionals, our party strongly opposes the Health and Social Care Act. We believe the Act is wrecking the NHS in England by allowing it to be broken up and sold off. We intend to put up around 50 candidates in carefully chosen general election constituencies, and we will urge the Labour party to repeal the Act. We’ll also field candidates in local council elections.

Party co-leader and cancer specialist Dr Clive Peedell said: “For generations we’ve trusted the NHS to be a safety net for everyone in times of need. Putting the values of business and the markets ahead of those of patients and communities will ruin the NHS. This destruction is being fast-tracked by Tory and coalition policies. We hope our new party will halt this process.”

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Cameron at the Olympics

David Cameron goes to the official uniform distribution centre in east London to talk about the Olympics. After his talk he offers question time. One Olympics Volunteer puts up his hand and George asks him what his name is.

“Billy.”

“And what is your question, Billy?”

“I have 3 questions. First, why is your government making cuts in services that disabled people depend on and taking away Disabled Living Allowance from people who need it? Second, why are you privatising the NHS when that wasn’t in the Conservative manifesto or the coalition agreement? And third, why is your government forcing people who are very ill or have serious disabilities into workfare?”
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How can an NHS Trust go bankrupt?

In May 1997, back in those lovely days where we were sure we’d got rid of the Tories and now had a Labour government, Tony Blair put Alan Milburn in charge of the Department of Health, where he stayed for about 18 months until Peter Mandelson first got caught in a dodgy money deal, whereupon Milburn was reshuffled to the Treasury and in 2003 resigned from government to “spend more time with his family” and with Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm with clients including Alliance Medical, Match Group, and Medica.

Between the Treasury and the NHS, Alan Milburn – an enthusiastic supporter of Blairite policies – set in train everything needed to make an NHS Trust go bankrupt.

George Monbiot, on The Biggest, Weirdest Rip-Off Yet:

When Labour took power in 1997, it told public servants that there would be no alternative to PFI. “When there is a limited amount of public-sector capital available, as there is,” the health secretary Alan Milburn announced, “it’s PFI or bust”. After 12 years, the policy hasn’t changed. A leaked email summarising a meeting with the current health secretary, Alan Johnson, in January this year [2009] revealed that “PFIs have always been the NHS’s ‘plan A’ for building new hospitals … There was never a ‘plan B’.” If you apply for public funds, you won’t get them: to build a new hospital or school or prison, you must PFI it.


South London Healthcare
runs three hospitals in Orpington, Sidcup, and Woolwich. The Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich were both built using Blair’s darling and Milburn’s favourite: Private Finance Initiative. Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup was built in 1974.
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Abortion

There are a set of moral, ethical, and medical issues around abortion.

[Also about use of Care Quality Commission staff for a politician's personal prejudices. More of that in the update below.]

The Telegraph does not appear to be interested in any of them, in its latest US-style article about “abortion clinics”.

First and most importantly: Is the person who is having the abortion being coerced in any way? It would be immoral and inethical for a doctor to perform an abortion on anyone unless she wants to have her pregnancy terminated.
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The Tories like the US healthcare system

And Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor at the Telegraph, likes a liar. Let me explain.

The Health and Social Care Bill will become law. The Tory love for the US healthcare system is based on its profitability to people like them rather than to its effectiveness. The Health and Social Care Act is intended to increase the NHS costs and decrease services.
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Profits, non-profits, and a living wage

Last night I had a nasty little conversation with a Cambridge Tory: I was rude (for which I am sorry today); so was he (but I can’t do anything about that).

The conversation began with a tweet by someone else:

To which the Tory, apparently confused about the difference between profiting from someone else’s illness, and making a living providing healthcare:
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Dear LibDems, climb out of the window now

I woke up yesterday to a Tory on Twitter accusing all of us who have protested the NHS Reform of being “hysterical”. A Lib Dem suggested that we really shouldn’t call it privatisation because that’s just a dystopic fantasy. She and another LibDem were telling me that I shouldn’t blame the Liberal Democrats or the Tories because this was all Labour’s fault really, I ought to be complaining about what the Labour government were doing back when they were in power, not about what the Tories and LibDems are doing now.

[And by Friday, Lord Ashcroft had published a concern troll at ConHome: update below.]

The Ninth Doctor: She's climbing out the window, isn't she?

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The NHS is not a pie

If we were Americans this would be Pi Day. As we are British and write our dates in the proper order, Pi Day is on 22nd July: 22/7, which is more accurate anyway by a fraction of 1/3047. That matters if you have a big pie, and the NHS is a very, very big pie.

Pie NHS logo

From Doctor Eoin Clarke’s blog, The Green Benches:

Lord Owen, the leading opponent of the NHS Bill in the House of Lords will attempt one last deed to slow the passage of this NHS Bill. He has introduced an amendment (here) into the House of Lords that the entire NHS Bill be paused until the NHS Risk Register is published. This is because Lord Owen is fearful that the risks contained within the report are so grave that they should be considered and debated first, before the bill proceeds. We need you to contact the Lib Dem peers and ask them to support Lord Owen’s amendment.

The vote will take place on Monday. There’s a gadget at the Green Benches to auto-email all of the LibDem peers, but I really prefer WriteToThem because that site monitors which peers respond to what you wrote – and also by default sends the message by fax, which means that your letter arrives at their office on paper (unless they are set up to handle emails and have told mySociety to have people email them). Paper letters are treated more seriously than emails, especially when emails are sent in large numbers with the same wording.

Update: But you can only use Write To Them for six peers every two days!
From Write To Them Lords faq:

How many Lords can I write to?

Quite a few, but don’t try and write to loads. You see, they’ve only got this one fax machine, and we don’t want to overwhelm it. The Parliament website gives more details about different ways to contact Lords, and the different limits on sending bulk messages to all Lords.

We also very aggressively prevent copy-and-pasted messages to Lords. This is because the House of Lords throw away bulk sent faxes, so it is a waste of time. Do not tell people to copy and paste letters to Lords, get them to write in their own words. See our Guidelines for campaigning for more information on this.

So there you go. If you have further updates about the *’d peers, let me know.]

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The letter I wrote:

I have been following the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill through Parliament with great concern.

Although I live in Scotland, where the NHS will not be subject to the “reforms” of this Bill, it seems to me that such a radical breakdown of the NHS is bound to affect the whole of the UK – and will certainly have knock-on effects for Scots (and Welsh) travelling or temporarily staying in England.
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David Cameron: Give citizens more power

People have been shut out of Westminster politics for too long. Having a single vote every four or five years is not good enough – we need to give people real control over how they are governed. So, with a Conservative government, any petition that secures 100,000 signatures will be eligible for formal debate in Parliament. The petition with the most signatures will enable members of the public to table a Bill eligible to be voted on in Parliament. And we will introduce a new Public Reading Stage for Bills to give the public an opportunity to comment on proposed legislation online. (Tory Manifesto, page 77

The Drop the Health Bill epetition passed the 100,000 mark some time ago and is now heading for 200,000: it has 173,903 signatures as of today.
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Did the LibDems just vote me towards independence?

A record-breaking 172,475 people have signed Dr Kailash Chand’s e-petition to drop the NHS Reforms bill.

David Cameron promised once upon a time that any e-petition that got more than 100,000 signatures would get a debate in the House of Commons, but he evidently meant “any e-petition that Tories can support without going against the interests of our donors“.

At the Liberal Democrat conference today:

2.21pm: Nick Clegg has won his first battle of the conference. According to Channel 4′s Michael Crick on Twitter, Lib Dem activists have chosen to debate the Shirley Williams health motion tomorrow – the pro-leadership one – instead of the rebel motion calling for it to be withdrawn or defeated.

2.27pm: The Shirley Williams health motion got 309 votes. The rebel “drop the bill” one got 280 votes.

On Tuesday 13th March, the e-petition will have a House of Commons debate and the House of Lords will have a 3rd-reading debate on the Bill.

If the Bill becomes law, while it will not apply to the NHS in Scotland (or in Wales) Scots travelling in England will have to reckon with the possibility they may not get emergency treatment on the NHS. Continue reading

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