Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before

Left Foot Forward’s Alex Hern reports on Lord Owen’s remarks about the health and social care bill as it enters its second reading in the House of Lords.

Lord Owen has given his speech in support of his motion to refer the health and social care bill to a select committee for thorough review.

Talking about the NHS being threatened for the first time by the coalition, he argued that the major mistake of the bill was the idea it contained that the government could simply wash its hands of the difficult decisions of rationing provision, and that this idea being taken to its logical conclusion results in the rationing being handled by private spending instead, as in the USA.

He said:

“I would like to go into the essence of the health service. I got into trouble when I was minister for health for using the phrase ‘a rationed health service’. I have repeated that on many occasions. Health spending is almost unlimited. We ration the health service, and yet the health service remains extraordinarily popular with the public. It is the one institution which no political party up till now has really threatened. Why is that?

“There are many reasons, but I do believe a deep reason is that the public think that the rationing process is fair. That it is rooted in democracy, it is rooted in parliament and what I do think is the purists have – and I’m a reformer, I was the first person to advocate an internal market in the health service, but I never thought that it would lead to an external market, a pure market.

“Health is not a public utility. Health is different. Sometimes the health professionals have talked too much about money to ministers of health, as Enoch Powell in a classic speech said. We must cherish the fact that it is a pool of altruism in our society. It is different.

“People commit hours of time – surgeons and porters, nurses and physiotherapists – far beyond the call of duty, ignoring the EU directives time after time. Are we going to foster that, are we going to keep it?

“Now the other purist issue – firstly to go for an external market, and secondly to think you can separate out the running of the health service entirely in its production from the secretary of state.”

Watch it:

Owen also argued that health spending should be looked at in its totality, rather than just at the NHS’s budget:

“The idea that the secretary of state can stand aside from all these things – I see the former chancellor of the exchequer, he knows too – in this rationing its not just what you spend by the state, its also what you spend privately, it’s the total budget that health takes – and if it gets too high, as it has undoubtedly done in the United States, it takes away from other sectors private or public.

“So this rationing process is one that we are all involved in, and I believe that a select committee is the only procedure that can look at the complexity of this new relationship we are trying to establish, and if we get it wrong we will be in very serious trouble.”

See also:

UK Uncut: Stop the traffic to stop the NHS being run overTim Holmes, October 7th 2011

Second reading of NHS bill offers a second chance to kill itAlex Hern, October 6th 2011

Can Lansley be trusted with the NHS? 400 more experts say NOShamik Das, October 4th 2011

Lib Dem MP tells Lords: How the NHS bill needs to be changedAndrew George MP, September 21st 2011

Baroness Williams: Coalition “bewitched by a flawed US system”Shamik Das, September 3rd 2011

39 Responses to “Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before”

  1. ★ Paris Lees ★

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  2. Katie

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  3. Kerry Taylor

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  4. Chris Larkin

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  5. Cookie Monster

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  6. Jules Again

    RT @leftfootfwd: VIDEO: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before: //t.co/X4uzeLO3 reports @AlexHern #SaveTheNHS #SaveOurNHS

  7. Jessica Pigg

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  8. Maria Touramani

    VIDEO: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before: //t.co/da70TcP9 reports @AlexHern #SaveTheNHS #SaveOurNHS

  9. E Azicate

    VIDEO: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before: //t.co/da70TcP9 reports @AlexHern #SaveTheNHS #SaveOurNHS

  10. Catherine Sharpe

    VIDEO: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before: //t.co/da70TcP9 reports @AlexHern #SaveTheNHS #SaveOurNHS

  11. Bern O'Donoghue

    Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before #saveourNHS //t.co/ns3LgokR

  12. Ten reasons peers should vote against Lansley’s anti-NHS bill | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before – Alex Hern, October 11th […]

  13. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before //t.co/KKITiixE

  14. Jill Hayward

    Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before #saveourNHS //t.co/ns3LgokR

  15. Rebecca Scambler

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before //t.co/gjK0aHEm

  16. VirtualResistance

    //t.co/BuAwKG6B Lord Owen: #NHS is under threat like never before

  17. Pissed Proletariat

    //t.co/BuAwKG6B Lord Owen: #NHS is under threat like never before

  18. Keith Saunders

    //t.co/BuAwKG6B Lord Owen: #NHS is under threat like never before

  19. Alice Murphy

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  21. Free Threads

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  22. London IWW

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  23. Owen Williams

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  24. Look Left – Cameron bids Fox ‘thank you and goodbye’ | Left Foot Forward

    […] the Lords on Tuesday, Lord Owen described the bill as it stands as a threat to the NHS like never before: “Health is not a public utility. […]

  25. Emmeline Lawless

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  26. Alan199

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  27. Emma Lucy Aston

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  28. Yrotitna

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  29. John McNeill

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  30. Martin Dando

    The NHS reforms are being implemented on the ground, flouting democracy, as pointed out by Lord Owen: //t.co/SBDDd6v4

  31. Ken Rice

    RT @leftfootfwd This seems remarkable insightful! Total spend is important! //t.co/tD7Nm7iS

  32. Sue Hoyle

    A fuller quote from Lord Owen, architect of NHS marketisation, on why this bill is broken: //t.co/44FYQF2E

  33. keith ferguson

    A fuller quote from Lord Owen, architect of NHS marketisation, on why this bill is broken: //t.co/44FYQF2E

  34. Richard C Renson

    A fuller quote from Lord Owen, architect of NHS marketisation, on why this bill is broken: //t.co/44FYQF2E

  35. Catherine Sharpe

    A fuller quote from Lord Owen, architect of NHS marketisation, on why this bill is broken: //t.co/44FYQF2E

  36. Soupy One

    A fuller quote from Lord Owen, architect of NHS marketisation, on why this bill is broken: //t.co/44FYQF2E

  37. Losing the plot: How the Lords rubbished the NHS bill – then voted for it anyway | Left Foot Forward

    […] Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before – Alex Hern, October 11th […]

  38. Losing the plot: How the Lords rubbished the NHS bill – then voted for it anyway | Left Foot Forward

    […] Lord Owen: NHS is under threat like never before – Alex Hern, October 11th […]

  39. Clegg still has a chance to save the NHS – and his party | Left Foot Forward

    […] their party view. One which both honours their own grassroots view and which neatly knits into Lord Owen’s call for a halt in the third reading until the Transitional Risk Register contents are […]

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