Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures?

Despite strong opposition in the media and on the ground, Andrew Lansley is still signing off on A&E closures.

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By Fiona Twycross AM (Labour), writing in a personal capacity

You would be hard pressed to find a politician from any party prepared to openly support A&E closures.

Accident-and-Emergency-DepartmentIf you believed what you read in local papers, the closures are apparently universally opposed by public and politicians alike. Despite this, and despite strong opposition on the ground, Andrew Lansley is still signing off A&E closures.

Why?

The simple (obvious) answer is because the Tories and Lib Dems are allowing him to buy their support in parliament for the changes to the health service and NHS cuts.

In return Tory and Lib Dem politicians appear to be being given free rein to be oppositional at a local level.

Opposition to local cuts is sanctioned, even to the extent that it is not a resigning matter for Paul Burstow to be opposing the closure of the A&E at his local St Helier hospital even though he is minister. There’ll some of you out there itching to point out that Hazel Blears was allowed to do the same but at least she wasn’t a health minister like Burstow who is opposing cuts to services at his local St Helier hospital.

At the 11 July plenary session of the London Assembly, members – including the Conservatives and Lib Dems – unanimously spoke against A&E closures to the extent it sounded almost churlish to criticise the coalition on health (although I did).

All Assembly members present voted in support of a Labour motion on the issue. You would think you were in a parallel universe where there was universal agreement that the cuts weren’t being allowed to go ahead.

 


See also:

IFS: NHS budget squeeze set to last “at least a decade” 4 Jul 2012

Cuts to the NHS are triggering higher costs and severe consequences elsewhere 22 Jun 2012

The NHS crisis: A spotter’s guide 18 Jun 2012


 

In permitting localised opposition, the government is recognising the danger of electoral defeat on the back of saving local hospitals like that suffered by Tory Richard Barnes at the hands of GP Dr Onkar Sahota, now Labour Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon. Permission (explicit or implicit) to oppose is, however, a dangerous path for a government and a sign of how wobbly (technical term) the coalition’s position is.

Yet, if it is genuinely the case that all politicians, including Lib Dem and Tory politicians who voted for the changes to the NHS, agree with the prevailing view of the public that the current round of proposed A&E closures are bad when it comes to their local hospital, can’t agreement be reached that the moratorium on A&E closures proposed by Cameron before the last general election should be honoured?

The only other conclusion to reach is that there is some serious opportunistic posturing going on.

 


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28 Responses to “Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures?”

  1. Soupy One

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/KKzUysJ6 #SaveOurNHS

  2. Sally Catriona

    political posturing on A&E closures? You don't say #nhs http://t.co/kEHoj2EY

  3. Political Planet

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures?: Despite strong opposition in the media and on the gr… http://t.co/dL97bEhs

  4. NewsatLeft

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E… http://t.co/vjnWWLRM #PublicServicesforAll #AEclosures #AndrewLansley #Healthcuts #NHS

  5. Clive Burgess

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/KKzUysJ6 #SaveOurNHS

  6. NewsatLeft

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E… http://t.co/oVf0cA5o #PublicServicesforAll #AEclosures #AndrewLansley #Healthcuts #NHS

  7. Pulp Ark

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? http://t.co/tQUOMTxz #PublicServicesforAll #AampEclosures #muslim #tcot #sioa

  8. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? http://t.co/d8L0HnO5

  9. Katherine Smith

    Left Foot Forward – Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? http://t.co/d8L0HnO5

  10. Fiona Twycross

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/KKzUysJ6 #SaveOurNHS

  11. Shamik Das

    Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/KKzUysJ6 #SaveOurNHS

  12. Hitchin England

    RT @leftfootfwd: Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/DSt94EI9 #SaveOurNHS

  13. Liza Harding

    RT @leftfootfwd: Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? asks @fionatwycross: http://t.co/DSt94EI9 #SaveOurNHS

  14. Lord Kennedy

    Excellent article by London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross on A & E closures in London read it here http://t.co/5RRQIVQf

  15. Liza Harding

    Excellent article by London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross on A & E closures in London read it here http://t.co/5RRQIVQf

  16. Daniel Carey-Dawes

    Excellent article by London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross on A & E closures in London read it here http://t.co/5RRQIVQf

  17. j farrington-douglas

    Hilarious article about political posturing on a&e changes from posturing politician – calling for a new moratorium. http://t.co/2FFDUNrX

  18. Alex Hilton

    Fiona, try not to forget that reconfiguration is a Labour policy aimed at making sure people get the best available care rather than the nearest care. It has some flaws, also down to Labour, in terms of being used to prop up trusts with unsustainable PFI payments rather than being clinically led, but it was still Labour’s policy.

  19. Alan Maynard

    Hilarious article about political posturing on a&e changes from posturing politician – calling for a new moratorium. http://t.co/2FFDUNrX

  20. Anonymous

    Unfortunately, when it comes to A&E’s, it’s counter-productive, not least because it leads to increased ambulance callouts for more minor injuries when people cannot realistically otherwise make it to A&E for treatment.

  21. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? http://t.co/2FjMmYE0

  22. Kinnock

    As far as the governments own quality indicators and ambulance waiting times are concerned, St helier a&e is the third best performing in Greater London. A good way to reward a unit which is jumping successfuly through every burning hoop the government puts in front of it!

  23. Anonymous

    To be fair, Greater London is the only place in the UK where hospital closures are really needed. But their targeting criteria, as you note, are more than slightly dodgy.

  24. Mr. Sensible

    Looks more like posturing to me.

  25. Angus Carruthers

    Fiona Twycross @fionatwycross: Genuine opposition or political posturing on A&E closures? #NHS #SaveOurNHS http://t.co/I3htWnfD

  26. Socialist Health Asn

    No politicians is prepared to talk about closures, or rationing. They all want someone else to carry the can http://t.co/AECkAJ9R

  27. Alex Hilton

    You’re right, that is the effect, but only because they have bodged the reconfiguration job. There was supposed to be an increase in the number of minor injuries units / walk-in centres. It’s cheaper to treat patients in these centres and if there really were more of them, they would be easy to get to. There’s also a lack of effort put into culture shift too in terms of getting people to use them effectively

  28. Anonymous

    Right, because the Tories didn’t want to pay for them.

    Without a sufficient network, simply trying to discourage people from going to A&E…

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