Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work?

Dominic Browne asks whether Andrew Lansley will be scapegoated by David Cameron and suggests him being left in the job might work better for the left.

Some might argue it’s stating the obvious: a health secretary who received a vote of no-confidence from 99 per cent of the Royal College of Nursing, and a rejection of the flag-ship NHS reforms he spent seven years working on, by the British Medical Association, is in danger of losing his job.

The obvious is not always the inevitable in politics but calls for Andrew Lansley to go turned to rumours and speculation, and now have become that most ominous of understatements – ‘talk’.

The Financial Times writing yesterday under the headline: “Meeting prompts talk of sidelining Lansley” reported that:

“Health experts have been called in for a breakfast meeting with Paul Bate, David Cameron’s new special adviser on healthcare, prompting fresh speculation on Tuesday that Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, is being sidelined.”

The experts attending the meeting don’t at first glance provide any comfort to Lansley:

“Sir Ian(Carruthers) is understood to have reservations about the government’s plans.

“This list is also thought to feature Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust think-tank which has highlighted the risks in the reforms; and Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, who has produced some of the most constructive criticisms of them.

“Others expected to be present include Sir Robert Naylor, chief executive of University College London Hospitals, who warned Mr Cameron before Mr Lansley’s white paper of the dangers of having purely GP-led commissioning.”

David Cameron has done his best to let department heads take the blame for the u-turns and failures of his government such as in the forests debacle, or when William Hague was “forced to shoulder the blame for mishaps in the Foreign Office”.

Lansley has already apologised for his part in the health bill failures and been subsequently “humiliated” by Cameron who billed the problem as one of “charging ahead” with the reforms instead of listening.

In light of this and the difficult relationship the Conservatives have with the British public over the NHS, Cameron might make Lansley a scapegoat. This would be humiliating in itself and would have to accompany some major compromises on the health bill. The best outcome for progressives would be for the unpopular Lansley to retain his job, and the healthcare bill to be defeated outright.

Lansley has become a liability and the bill has already lost the support of Liberal Democrats. Tomorrow’s election results may well give the Lib Dems even more reason to retreat back to their base and disassociate themselves from the Tories.

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24 Responses to “Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work?”

  1. Max

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/jhqQtp asks @dbr1981

  2. John Edginton

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/jhqQtp asks @dbr1981

  3. Tufty

    Cameron = tw*t

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/jhqQtp asks @dbr1981

  4. Rosemary

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/jhqQtp asks @dbr1981

  5. Daniel Pitt

    Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/jhqQtp #ConDemNation

  6. langbourner

    It’s not a huge blow for a Tory cabinet minister to be rejected by two public sector trades unions.

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Since we have no way of knowing if Cameron “will make Lansley a scapegoat” the the second question “will it work” is equally unknown.

    A more pertinent question is “would he” to which I would suggest he would but this article is just a pile of nonsensical drivel as it stands and does nothing but carp on about the government instead of offering a better alternative in the Labour Party.

    Does no one on this blog have a single positive remark about Labour at all?

  8. Steve

    Does anyone apart from the brain-washed stupid really care what a lefty article says?

  9. Sam

    Whilst I deplore much of the white paper and find Lansley smug and lacking emotional intelligence, we must remember it is Cameron who set him free to run with his reforms. It is Cameron’s own hands off style, where he takes personal responsibility for nothing that needs more critical examination.

  10. Hhaylo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will David Cameron make Lansley a scapegoat, and will it work? http://bit.ly/lrCCbL

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Sam – It’s called delegation, decent management if you like.

    Better than the last government of authoritarian control over the PLP hwere they were there to represent the party instead of their electorate…

  12. NowHearThis

    With more managers without medical knowledge than medical staff in the NHS, it is quite right to get rid of a large proportion of them so the government is right to tackle this. However, they have been going about this and much else like bulls in a china shop.

    I complained to my MP Nick de Bois, Enfield North, as he is on the Health Committee, planning this. I told him that the government is going far too fast, especially with budget cutbacks making outcomes even more uncertain and that they should have a pilot to establish whether they are going to be able to achieve their objectives without damaging quality of service. I also pointed out that the plans for any change should be meticulous and thorough, with contingency plans for when things go wrong.

    Most of all I complained that no effort was being put into an approach which maintained public confidence. I suggested that the government’s policy seemed to be to get the deficit down by any means and to hell with the consequences.

    Trouble is who do we vote for in 2015? New Labour ran amuck with our money and so did Old Labour, the Lib Dems make pledges they just will not keep and unlike the Progressive Conservatives who (depending upon your allegiances in politics) generally speaking were competent in what they were trying to do, this New Conservatives bunch of youngsters are politically barely out of nappies yet prepared to dismantle everything with superficially constructed policies where the outcome is uncertain and therefore very dangerous.

  13. Lynn Matthews

    ….Ah! But, although a good manager delegates responsibility; it is an excellent manager and leader of people who acknowledges that you cannot delegate accountability and, as such, takes the rap for his/her teams mistakes.

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Lynn Matthews – True.

  15. lynne heal

    have not found one GOOD POSITIVE person yet in parliament for health Multiple scelrosis needs angioplasty clinical trials NOW

  16. lynne heal

    multiple scelerosis we need interventioanl vascular radiologists who will help and can work to make our lifes so much better.As for clinical trials I had one operation NOT clinically trialled yet given to me last year ,which makes no sense when they keep saying this .The whole system is crazy.Many lifes CAN BE SAVED WITH ANGIOPLASTY UK will then become the best in the world in healthcare and NO one is listening NO ONE.

  17. lynne heal

    ANGOPLASTY would create many jobs for our healthcare and move UK forward to a disease thats now being understood more.Montel williams who am friends with in USA wants it too and has added me to many of his videos of MS along with others worldwide also

  18. ian collett

    If I was looking for an ideal vehicle to meet whatever needs I had, if I found one that was just right and took to the road with it. If I drove it TO FAST and wrapt it round a tree. Would it still be what I needed? Would it still answer my needs. The government is trying to change the N.H.S. too fast and will wreck it.

  19. Lynchpin

    Good article. If you really want to sideline Lansley march on the 17th of May to save our NHS. Assemble 17:30 University College Hospital WC1

  20. Steve

    Who’s that chimpanzee at the top of this page?… The one that’s backing Labour?

  21. Richard Blogger

    @1 If it were just “trades unions” (FYI the RCN and BMA represent the vast majority of nurses and doctors, unlike other trades unions in other industries) then you may be right. The problem for Lansley is that all of the professional organisations are dead against the policy too. The professional organisations are NOT trades unions (the clue is in the name), they take an attitude based upon what is best for the service, and it is clear that the best thing for the NHS is this bill stopped completely.

    FWIW Lansley could have got most of his policy implemented without a bill, he has the powers. However, Lansley’s ego is so large that he just had to have his name on a Bill. I am afraid that does not make him seem like a suitable man for the job, the NHS is far bigger than one man. Lansley wants to be the Dr Beeching of the NHS, it is important that Labour makes sure that he does not get his way.

  22. UNISON Health

    Don't let Cameron avoid his share of the blame for NHS debacle http://fb.me/ZgWu5LN9

  23. Richard Blogger

    @6 Nonsense!

    “With more managers without medical knowledge than medical staff in the NHS”

    Why don’t you do the intelligent thing and actually read the facts? That statement is the most dimwitted of any I have ever read from a dimwitted right winger. The NHS Information Centre says that (Oct 2010, latest figures):

    Managers 29,097
    Senior Managers 12,257
    Total 41,354

    Hospital and Community HS Doctors 106,639
    Qualified Nurses 353,678

    So there are two and a half times more doctors than managers. There are 11 times more doctors and nurses (“medical staff”) than managers.

    The rest of your response was largely drivel, and not helped by the fact that you are incapable of looking up facts.

  24. Trevor Cheeseman

    Lansley is a dead man walking.

    But even without him, the Coalition will remain on the defensive on health. Calling together another group of independent experts reflects that Cameron is clueless about how to approach NHS reform. Hospitals are already being told by their regulator to make “efficiency savings” of up to 7% every year for the next 4 years!

    Perhaps that poster should have read: “I’ll cut the deficit, via the NHS”…

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