Embattled health secretary Andrew Lansley suffered a further blow today with the news former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn has rejected his personal request to become a candidate for the chair of the NHS Commissioning Board.
Embattled health secretary Andrew Lansley suffered a further blow today with the news former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn has rejected his personal request to become a candidate for the chair of the NHS Commissioning Board. In August, Milburn was appointed the coalition’s ‘social mobility tsar‘ to much fanfare, an appointment described as “quite a coup” for the prime minister; today’s news, however, has hardly been reported at all.
Only industry publication Health Service Journal has reported (£):
“Mr Milburn, heath secretary between 1999 and 2003, was personally asked by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to join the competition for the post. Both the offer and Mr Milburn’s refusal came within the last few weeks…
“Last year Mr Milburn agreed to be an adviser to the coalition government on social mobility, signalling his willingness to work across political boundaries. However, senior sources close to the reform process suggested Mr Milburn may have rejected this offer because the likely political row posed too great a risk given the uncertain outcome of the selection process.
“However, Mr Milburn did express significant concern about the reforms at last week’s Nuffield Trust summit.
“He said that some elements of the coalition’s plans were “instantly recognisable” as a continuation of the reforms he oversaw. However, he claimed to be “mystified” by the “presentation” of the government’s programme and the lack of “advocacy and advocates” for the changes.
““I don’t understand the politics”, he said.”
Yesterday, Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association, warned that the government’s NHS reforms risked a return to the 1930s, and warned against turning the service into “an increasingly tattered safety net”.
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“Very deliberately the government wishes to turn back the clock to the 1930s and 1940s, when there were private, charitable and co-operative providers of healthcare.
“But that system failed to provide comprehensive and universal service for the citizens of this country. That’s why health was nationalised. But they’re proposing to go back to the days before the NHS.”