Lansley may be listening but it’s business as usual at the Dept. of Health

Andrew Lansley today launched a listening exercise designed to ease the mounting concerns regarding his NHS shake up. However, whilst Cameron and Co. travel the country “listening” the restructuring will race on regardless.

Andrew Lansley today launched a listening exercise designed to ease the mounting concerns regarding his NHS shake up. However, whilst Cameron and Co. travel the country “listening” the restructuring will race on regardless.

The reforms actually began in earnest on October 21st when the health secretary announced a GP commissioning pathfinder scheme.

The scheme was intended to:

“…identify and support groups of practices who are keen to make faster progress in taking on the new roles.”

At last count 220 consortia had begun undertaking commissioning work covering 45.7 million people across the country. This means 87 per cent of the population is currently covered by a commissioning regime which has yet to receive parliamentary consent and has been suspended due to widespread concern.

Despite the absence of democratic consent, Mr Lansley has awarded his pathfinders wide ranging powers. He said:

“The groups selected, known as pathfinders, will work together to manage their local budgets and commission services for patients direct with other NHS colleagues and local authorities.”

The signing on of these GPs has been much trumpeted by the government as a signal of support from the medical community. The Tories will be disappointed to learn the rush to sign up has been out of compulsion rather than choice.

A poll undertaken by Pulse of 450 GPs has shown that 45% of those involved in the pathfinders oppose the principle of GP commissioning.

In a striking metaphor, one GP compared the implementation of the reforms to the sinking of the titanic, saying:

“Just because passengers got in lifeboats on the Titanic did not mean that they supported the ship sinking.”

Determined to do a tour de force of democratic ignorance Mr Lansley has also failed to ensure the Pathfinders will be subject to proper scrutiny. Each of the 220 has a fund of £2 per head to help them develop their consortia.

However, in response to a parliamentary question asking who would be monitoring the expenditure the government responded:

“We have no plans to monitor expenditure centrally on the general practitioner (GP) consortia pathfinder programme.”

Even Norman Tebbit and the right wing think tank Policy Exchange have joined the calls for the government to slow down. Although it appears Mr Lansley has bowed to pressure his announcement today has slowed the parliamentary process rather than the reorganisation.

Whilst Lansley, Cameron and Clegg tour the country trying to ‘sell’ their NHS reforms the Department of Health will press ahead. Mr Lansley may be listening but he is clearly not learning.

19 Responses to “Lansley may be listening but it’s business as usual at the Dept. of Health”

  1. Andrew Georgiou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  2. Saggydaddy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  3. Tasha Georgiou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  4. Wendy Maddox

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  5. Steve Kelly

    As expected, this is just spin.

  6. Paul McGuinness

    Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health //bit.ly/eUR7D5

  7. Staffordshire UNISON

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  8. Mr. Sensible

    Why should I believe this is anything other than an attempt to kick this in to the long grass until after the local elections in the hope that we forget it on May 5th? If he’s thinking that will happen he’d better think again.

    This reform program is in a total state. No support from doctors, nurses, patients or Lib Dems, contradictary briefings to the Sunday papers coming out of different government departments, and now there seems to be horsetrading going on to cobble something together. And somewhere at the centre of all this are the doctors, nurses, patients ETC trying to work out what is going on. This is no way to run the NHS.

    This reform program needs to be binned. Simple as.

  9. Andrew Duncan

    What Lansley and the Tories have done to the NHS (starting from an election pledge of “I’ll cut the deficit; not the NHS”) amounts to serious criminal damage of public property. This is on a scale at least a million times more massive than the paint-jobs by the Black Bloc last weekend.

    If they weren’t in government, they would be locked up for a very long time for this.

  10. AltGovUK

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – You’ve lost this already. All this lot is just waffle. Read the article:- “220 groups of GP practices across the country covering nearly 90% of the population have come forward so they can directly commission bespoke services focused on delivering the best outcomes for their patients”

    90% covered already. Compared to the disastrous PFI hospitals under the last useless government this effectively costs nothing and anyway who knows better than local GP’s what services are required for their patients or are you saying GP’s, the cream of our education system can’t organise a piss up in a brewery?

    Yes the government is frightened about May 5th – it should be – but all this pause will do is take the heat from the thing and work in their favour.

    Every time this government has what silly Labour supporters describe as a U turn more and more voters have less and less reason to vote for Labour. Not that they would whilst the tax avoiding property multimillionaire is in charge…

  12. Andrew Georgiou

    Steve: Lansley is spinning so much he must be dizzy! He announced that he would be delaying the reforms and embarking on a listening exercise. Whilst he is doing this the reforms continue full speed ahead. The governments are pressing on with an unpopular, risky reform, one that has had no democrat approval and no regulatory oversight.

    Mr Sensible: Spot on! They are taking advantage of the Easter break to ensure that the NHS reforms do not drag down their vote in the Local Elections. The horse-trading is pointless; to change the Bill as much as people are demanding they would have to re-write it completely.

    Anon E Mouse: The battle can’t have been lost already. The Bill still needs to complete the parliamentary process. If it doesn’t the pathfinders will have to be rolled-back and an alternative commissioning process found.

    In regards to comparing to PFI schemes, no real work on financial comparison can be undertaken until data on Commissioning Consortia has been gathered and released.

    The fact that 45% of GPs in the Pulse poll have already expressed opposition shows that criticism is coming from within the profession. The knowledge and the ability of the British medical community is not in question – the administrative process is.

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Andrew Georgiou – You’re right but I didn’t mean it literally!

  14. Andrew Georgiou

    My apologies – I got carried away! You are completely right about the locals – the pause will just take the sting out of it.

  15. Jackie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lansley may be listening but it's business as usual at the Dept. of Health: //bit.ly/hvPcFr writes @AJGeorgiou

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