Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans

Opposition is growing to the NHS "patchwork-privatisation" plans being proposed by the Tory-led government.

Under pressure: Health secretary Andrew Lansley

The NHS faces a critical year, as the Lansley reforms, now dubbed the “patchwork privatisation” of the NHS, are put before Parliament – the longest ever legislation in NHS history. It is a game-changer: “The state will be withdrawing from the day-to-day management of healthcare,” describes NHS Confederation chief Nigel Edwards, with power and accountability operating in a new regulatory environment. The NHS is to become “like a regulated industry” like telecoms, water and energy, with loosely connected organisations operating in a market.

Against this background, a range of opposition is becoming more strident. More than 100 doctors, including 20 professors, have signed an open letter in the British Medical Journal this week, criticising the leadership of the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union:

“Now is the time to mobilise the profession and stop these damaging reforms, which will not only destroy the NHS but also profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation.”

Ex-GP and Tory MP Sarah Wollaston addressed the growing concern that the reforms will create this patchwork privatisation. Writing in The Guardian she said:

“If Lansley wants to reassure the public that his reforms will not lead to NHS privatisation, he should make it clear that GP commissioners will be liberated to choose NHS providers where they offer the best quality and comprehensive service without fear of legal challenge from private cherry-pickers.”

Left Foot Forward has previously highlighted the NHS threat from competition law to local NHS.

The chair the Royal College of GPs, Clare Gerada, who recently described the reforms as “the end of the NHS as we currently know it”, turned her fire on new plans from supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to offer free premises at up to 204 of its stores to encourage GPs to set up branch surgeries:

“Supermarkets should stick to selling fruit and vegetables. GPs would be sanctioned for selling tobacco products, alcohol and high calorie foods or advertising and selling products of limited medical value within their surgeries. Yet, supermarkets can do all of these alongside providing pharmacy and now, general practice care.

“Dealing with the sick and vulnerable needs more than a conveyer belt, quick-fix approach to healthcare delivery.”

Andrew Lansley himself is increasingly seen as vulnerable, and he is now emphasising his reform programme is evolutionary, rather than the revolution to liberate services he previously heralded. In his first major appointment, CEO of the new NHS National Commissioning Board – now the world’s largest quango – he was forced by the Treasury to appoint the existing NHS chief executive and ex-communist David Nicholson, the embodiment of  “top -down management” so disparaged by Lansley earlier this year.

Lansley’s overambitious pre-election rhetoric on service changes is now back to haunt him. To take one of many examples around the country, in 2008 he signed a petition to re-open the cardiac and acute medical services at Bridlington Hospital which had been transferred to Scarborough. After a change of heart last month, he said:

“Things have moved on since then.”

The NHS reform legislation is due before Parliament on January 17th, and its passage is expected to take up much of 2011. Organised opposition is growing: besides trades unions like Unite, campaigning groups such as 38 Degrees are lining up alongside the NHS Support Federation, Socialist Health Association and Keep Our NHS Public.

The legislation will also be the next progressive test for the “non-payroll” Lib Dem MPs, whose attitude will be crucial, given there is no mandate for the reforms. John Pugh, Lib Dem parliamentary health committee chair, commented:

“It’s just implausibly silly to pretend [the NHS reforms] do not flatly contradict the coalition agreement to avoid top-down restructuring.

“This can be excused if the government can get NHS professionals to welcome the changes, or at any rate believe in them. When they don’t, the consequences for governments and patients can be fatal.”

32 Responses to “Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans”

  1. Double.Karma

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  2. Neil Walshaw

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  3. liliana dmitrovic

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  4. Sian Balsom

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  5. Ellie Gellard

    Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN (via @leftfootfwd)

  6. jorjun

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  7. Luke

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  8. Neil Walshaw

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  9. Matt Jeffs

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  10. KevT Brown

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  11. Nat

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  12. Khurm

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  13. Alex Wintermute

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  14. Emily Davis

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  15. Victoria Holloway

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  16. Amanda Hodgson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  17. Lynne Heal

    NHS must help every MS patient who requires angioplasty our lifes are in your hands.Evidence is increasing daily worldwide it does work.Positive results are thousands liberated with under 3 deaths because of stents which Dr Zamboni has NOT reccommended,no proper aftercare was given also.I did contact government in Dec and other months too.I got an e mail yesterday to say CLOSED and no more help can be given have kept it for evidence of proof.

  18. Lynne Heal

    UK requires clinical trials here in UK via radiologists to allow evidence to prove UK is moving forward in the biggest ever find for a disease, in this century which will make medical history the biggest ever breakthrough .

  19. Hako Bloomfield

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans http://bit.ly/g8qHb7

  20. Andrew Roche

    Just read: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans http://dlvr.it/Csgz6

  21. Dave

    This is CONDEM Collision car crash policies.

  22. Richard Blogger

    Note that with 52 “Pathfinder” GP consortia announced last year covering 1/4 of the population and the NHS Alliance saying that half of the population will be covered by the summer. And with the PCTs in “meltdown”, Lansley has already got his way. There has been no parliamentary approval for GP commissioning nor PCT abolition, but it is happening now. That is undemocratic. We have a thoroughly undemocratic government, when will people take notice?

  23. Catherine Gillies

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  24. John Nor

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  25. Joe Cassels

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  26. jonathon tomlinson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  27. Shez

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  28. williamtheb

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  29. Simon Hailstone

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Govt plans "will not only destroy the NHS,but profoundly affect the social fabric of our nation" http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

  30. For Fox Sake

    RT @leftfootfwd: Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans: http://bit.ly/dUXiSN

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  32. Can Lansley be trusted with the NHS? 400 more experts say NO | Left Foot Forward

    […] Opposition grows to NHS “patchwork-privatisation” plans – Trevor Cheeseman, January 7th […]

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