Tag Archives: NHS Reform

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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Need to Know

“You don’t need to know” is a pernicious and provocative statement. It expresses arrogant authority: “I have the good judgement required to make my decision based on the facts. You don’t have that kind of judgement: you should just trust me.” Argue and this turns into a fight about why you are disrespecting the Authority by refusing to trust their good judgment, though the first act of disrespect was denying you the facts.

The Freedom of Information Act opens up all levels of public infomation to the public. The standard of the Freedom of Information Commissioners is that all information should be made available, with clearly specified exemptions to do with personal privacy and national security: there is a legal exemption if someone has asked for information that would be too expensive or too burdensome for a public body to provide, but they have to prove this to the Commissioner – they cannot simply tell you “too expensive, we won’t tell you”.

You don’t have to say why you want to know. You don’t have to prove “Need to know”. You don’t have to demonstrate that you have the good judgement to use the information wisely.

You are a member of the public. You want to know how a local authority or a public body arrived at a decision, or what they spent money on, or what was minuted at a meeting, or what the borrowing records are at your local libraries. The Freedom of Information Act says that wanting to know means you have a right to know.
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Filed under Healthcare, In The Media, Scottish Politics

Cameron gets Twittered in Newcastle

On Wednesday 15th February, David Cameron visited the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. He intended to speak about the dangers of binge drinking. The Northern Echo reports how

he highlighted the cost of alcohol to the NHS after meeting doctors, nurses, paramedics and police officers.

Mr Cameron toured the hospital, which has a police officer on duty two nights a week to handle drunken incidents, with matron Angela McNab and paramedic Paul Fell.

If David Cameron has a knack, it’s for suiting his speeches to fit his audience. If this occasionally makes him look a bit like Mr Wobbly, well, it means his immediate audience is usually happy and he gets the all-important visuals as background for his Prime Ministerial self.

NHS staff, however, are unusually and uniformly unhappy with David Cameron Continue reading

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