Is Lansley really listening?

The debate over the future of the NHS continues, with talk of u-turns, rows and the Clegg-Cameron double act hitting the road today - but questions remain over whether Andrew Lansley is actually listening.

The debate over the future of the NHS continues, with talk of u-turns, rows and the Clegg-Cameron double act hitting the road today to try and persuade the public they have a strategy for the NHS and the service is safe in their hands.


On a visit to a hospital this lunchtime, the prime minister, his deputy and health secretary Andrew Lansley insisted the government would “pause, listen, reflect and improve” on the health reforms.

However, during a debate on the health reforms in Parliament this week, responding to a question from Labour’s Diana Johnson asking:

“Exactly how long with the natural break be, and how will we know whether the Secretary of State has listened?”

The health secretary responded:

“I think the hon. Lady must accept that, because I have come to the House and made it very clear that we are going to do this thing. We are going to set it out, I have done so before the recess, and it will take place during the recess and beyond.

“But, from my point of view, I think that in the formation of the policy and its introduction there has been a genuine process of listening. It is now a genuine process of listening and engaging to ensure that we get the implementation right.”

Then, when asked by Labour’s David Anderson:

“Can the Secretary of State put in writing exactly what things will be put on hold and what things will carry on? For example, he said that he is taking a natural break but GP commissioning groups can still continue to be set up.

“If the natural break is a good idea, surely that is a pointless exercise.”

Mr Lansley added:

“No, the hon. Gentleman misunderstands. I was very clear in my statement and in subsequent responses to questions. Right across the country, there are thousands of people who are developing the pathfinder consortia, taking NHS trusts through to foundation trust status, and building the health and well-being boards and new public health structures in local government.

“They should be confident in doing that, because the Government continue to be committed to achieving those changes. In the process of doing so, we will engage with them to ensure that the legislation specifically gives them the support that they need.”

In other words, there will be absolutely no prospect of significant policy change; the ‘listening exercise’, the Cameron/Clegg/Lansley roadshow appears to be little more than a publicity exercise – the broad thrust of the reforms in the health and social care bill remain in place and will not be reversed.

As the shadow health secretary John Healey said yesterday:

“They failed to listen to concerns in 6000 responses to consultation. They failed to listen to the same concerns in rejecting over 100 Labour amendments to the Bill. So the “pause” looks suspiciously like a PR stunt to quell the coalition of criticism.

“Andrew Lansley will look to turn this Tory pause into a positive for David Cameron. Labour will encourage patients, staff and the public to raise their voices and challenge the changes wherever and whenever the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Health Secretary go through the motions of “listening” in the weeks ahead.”

The list of those opposing these reforms continues to grow, and includes an ever increasing number of Lib Dems and Tories like Lord Tebbitt. They join a growing list of leading health organisations who have expressed serious misgivings, including the British Medical Association, the King’s Fund, the NHS Alliance, the NHS Confederation, and The Nuffield Trust.

Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?

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24 Responses to “Is Lansley really listening?”

  1. False Economy

    "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  2. Crimson Crip

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  3. Sian Davies

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  4. Former GONW Branch

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  5. j farrington-douglas

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  6. Crimson Crip

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  7. Cab Davidson

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  8. Ian Rathbone

    “They failed to listen to concerns in 6000 responses to consultation. They failed to listen to the same concerns… http://fb.me/YlgeCflN

  9. WestMonster

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV #condems

  10. techno peasant

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  11. Chris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  12. Mavis Green

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  13. Daniel Weichman

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  14. Susan Sanders

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  15. Andrew Georgiou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  16. CroydonNeighbourhood

    RT @leftfootfwd: Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV by @ShamikDas #SaveOurNHS

  17. Richard Blogger

    The government is setting up the “NHS Future Forum pane” which will so-called advise them on any changes that must be made to the Bill, these are the “health experts” that you’ve heard about in the news. The problem is that so far the only people they have announced are all enthusiastic supporters of the Bill. It is a travesty.

  18. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik Das – Of course the government isn’t listening. Why should they? They’re the government. It’s a scam.

    Every government does it from Poll Tax to ID Cards and Iraq War and it won’t make a blind bit of difference to either the local election results or the General Election in four years. The government should enact the bill and be damned. Remember:

    Thatcher won an election after the Poll Tax fiasco.
    Major won an election after the Black Wednesday fiasco.
    Blair won an election after the Iraq War fiasco.
    Brown never won an election even for the Labour Party leadership.

    Which just goes to show it doesn’t matter who you vote for the government always gets in…

  19. Lansley rap vid hits 250,000 views | Left Foot Forward

    […] forcing him to undertake a “listening” exercise – yet, as Left Foot Forward reported earlier today, the main reforms in the health bill remain in place, with little chance of them […]

  20. Jos Bell

    Yes absolutely Richard – first let’s spot who is to be the chair? Prof Steve Field – he who in his previous incarnation as Chair of the RCGPs and now ‘usefully’ employed making a mint in the profit sector, is partly responsible for preparing the way for this with Lansley prior to the Election and stealthily led the poor benighted unwitting GPs into his brave new external marketeer world before dumping the results on Claire Gerada and skipping off into the profiteering sunset.

  21. irs_uk

    RT @FalseEcon: "Mr Lansley, why say you’ll listen if you aren’t going to change?" – @ShamikDas http://bit.ly/epkymV (via @leftfootfwd)

  22. Daniel Pitt

    Is Lansley really listening? http://bit.ly/epkymV #ConDemNation #SaveOurNHS

  23. Look Left – Will the government change course on the NHS? | Left Foot Forward

    […] the talk of The Three Amigos that they will “pause, listen, reflect and improve”, the question for the grey-haired, “humiliated” Mr Lansley remains: why say you’ll listen if […]

  24. Cameron falls down on his economic balancing act | Left Foot Forward

    […] with other government failures of late this appears to be a PR problem as much as a policy one.  The initial poll was coupled […]

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