Experts line up to distance themselves from Fallon’s deregulatory push

Business minister Michael Fallon MP this week blamed both the financial crisis and the deaths in Mid Staffordshire hospital on the “regulatory culture” of the Labour years. However deregulation risks babies and bathwater territory. What we need is better and more effective regulatory systems so that failures cannot be ignored again and stakeholders are protected.

Tessa Evans is an intern at the Institute for Public Policy Research

Business minister Michael Fallon MP this week blamed both the financial crisis and the deaths in Mid Staffordshire hospital on the “regulatory culture” of the Labour years.

The massive costs the financial crisis imposed on UK taxpayers and on our economy occurred “in the name of regulation”, he argued. The appalling suffering in our hospitals can also be traced back to “rules and regulations” that weigh down the NHS.

To prevent such disasters from happening again, he suggested, we should cut regulations, allowing businesses to focus on their “first task” of creating wealth.

“We must de-regulate further and faster, both at home and in Europe, to remove barriers to growth,” he said.

However, it is striking that Fallon’s attack got little support from the main business organisation in the UK.

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, distanced himself from Fallon’s speech, arguing at the IPPR’s ‘Revitalizing Social Europe’ event yesterday that businesses have no desire to “sweep all regulations off the table”.

Carberry argued that “more fastidious and more meaningful regulation” is what the business sector is calling for, and criticised government performance in this area as “not quite what we would like it to be”.

Deregulation risks babies and bathwater territory. What we need is better and more effective regulatory systems so that failures cannot be ignored again and stakeholders are protected.

Pretending that the crisis itself was due to an abundance of regulation defies economic logic and common sense. Instead, the  perils of light touch regulation need to be remembered if the finance sector is to service rather than threaten society.

The United Kingdom already has one of the world’s lowest rates of regulation. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 it was ranked 8th; two and four places higher respectively than the previous two years.

In 2008, the OECD ranked the UK as the least restrictive country in the world for product market regulation and third on labour market regulation, behind only Canada and the United States.

EU Commissioner Laszlo Andor, speaking at IPPR’s event, also dismissed Fallon’s plans, arguing that the lack of recovery emerged instead from the “failure to sort out the banking system” and the inability to “eliminate doubts about the future of the single currency”.

Andor also joked that “the country with the triple dip recession should not lecture the EU on economic growth”, suggesting that the government needs to move away from its obsession with regulation if it is serious about growth and recovery.

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30 Responses to “Experts line up to distance themselves from Fallon’s deregulatory push”

  1. LB

    40,000 avoidable deaths a year in the NHS.

    If that was a private company, what would you be saying?

    Ho hum, its the NHS, we can’t touch the sacred cow.

  2. henrytinsley

    I don’t know where you get the 40,000 figure from. Source?

    I can tell you that recent independent research has shown that 75,000 people die unnecessarily in the US health system so admired by the right.

  3. LB

    There aren’t admired by me.

    However, the 40,000 avoidable deaths is the BMJ. NHS estimates are 20-80,000.

    So lets see.

    300 million in the USA, 75K avoidable deaths. 1 in 4000


    60 million, 40K,1 in 1500

    Hmmm NHS is outperforming the US (crap system) when it comes to killing people.

    So why are you admiring the NHS for killing more people at a higher rate than the USA?

    Shows just how bad it is.

    Compare it say with Switzerland, and its even worse.

    Make the far better comparison, within the NHS, same methodology, for same risk, and Birmingham has 500% more deaths than UCH for the same risk of patients.

  4. Raging Leftie

    Regulation, regulation, regulation that is all you every hear from the Tories, like deregulation is going to sort out the World’s problems. Andor is completely right – our country and our politicians are not in any position to advise any one else on what to do (especially since they are the ones who created this mess in the first place). We need to sort out our own problems first before we look to anyone else’s.

  5. henrytinsley

    So where’s this 40,000 figure from?

  6. LB

    As I said. BMJ.

    British Medical Journal – Peer reviewed science.

  7. LB

    So NHS, killing 270% more people than the crap US system.

    Envy of the world according to the muppets like Blair and Brown who were in charge of it.

    So what’s the Westminster reaction to this slaughter?

    Lets talk horse meat.

  8. henrytinsley

    The World Health Organization – who might know about this – put the figure at 17,000.

  9. LB

    Why don’t you trust the BMJ?

    What about the NHS’s own estimates? 20-80,000 a year?

    1,200 killed in Stafford. Scale that up across the NHS?

    Chronic under reporting is also in play.

    What about Brum at 500% of UCH? Like for like – low risk patients.

    You seem awfully keen to defend killing that number of people?

    Are you one of the people responsible?

  10. LB

    Neglect by medical staff led to a man dying of dehydration in a hospital bed, a coroner has ruled. Medical staff at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, did not give Kane Gorny vital medication to help him retain fluids. The 22-year-old, who was a keen sportsman, even phoned police from his hospital bed as he was so desperate for a glass of water, the inquest heard. Deputy Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe told the hearing: “A cascade of individual failures has led to an incredibly tragic outcome.”

  11. cari_esky5

    Figures will seem large in the NHS because it has roughly 58 million people that can use it. A private hospital group may have some thousands of patients that pay up to it.
    It’s hard to judge private against public in the UK but if you look abroad it may be possible but that relies on the laws that govern reporting of deaths in privately run hospitals.
    Now this isn’t about treating the NHS as a sacred cow when it comes to negligence, it’s about getting to the truth to sort out the systematic problems and minimise as much as possible avoidable deaths. I can’t see many people arguing against that no matter what political spectrum they come by.

  12. cari_esky5

    Again it depends on what need sto be reported to the authorities to put them into the statistics. Not many countries report hospital acquired infection rates where as it is compulsory in the British NHS but not British private hospitals.

  13. Mr Reasonable

    Would deregulation reduce avoidable deaths in the NHS? Or maybe more target setting? Perhaps it’s target setting that results in higher numbers of deaths. If the NHS was private (which it nearly is, now) would we have less or more target setting as private providers, obligated to maximise shareholder value and shift income to tax-friendly jurisdictions, seek to justify its receipt of our taxes?

    Mr LB, you call the NHS a “sacred cow”. You sound like an informed correspondent. What are its problems? How would you sort out these problems? What alternatives do you have in mind? Who does it better?

  14. LB

    Ah, the top trumps arguments.

    40,000 in the UK, versus 75,000 in the USA.(See the post below).

    NHS killing people and because its a sacred cow, not touched. That’s the top trumps argument.

    Next, lets look at Birmingham, versus ECH London.

    For low risk patients (ie. Same risk), Brum is running at 500% of the deaths in ECH.

    That’s the key one. It’s like for like. You never know with US versus UK, if the same methods are used.

    There’s also systemic underreporting. Today we have hospitals covering up their deaths.

    The systematic problems will only be solved when the insurance, the regulation and the supply of medical services are split. Otherwise the conflicts of interest mean it won’t be fixed.

    In the mean time, the victims are being told to bugger off, sort yourself out, and the chief executives get the 6,7 figure payoffs.

  15. Mick

    What a complete shot in the foot by the minister. At least the way the Left reports it.

    Labour did indeed pile on the PC red tape, which only served to STIFLE patient care. Waiting lists were imposed yet standards plummeted. If hospitals were run so that they could manage themselves by competent managers, with trusts acting only as advisors, then you’d go a lot further to increasing efficiency, a savings pot and recovery figures. Least the way I see it.

    MILITARY HOSPITALS ran exceptionally well away from most jobsworths poking noses in. And Labour closed the last ones.

  16. LB

    Split regulator out from supplier from insurer.

    Here are some examples.

    Why is there a post code lottery? In effect the insurance part of the NHS is colluding not to supply health care.

    What about the reporting of deaths? Regulation isn’t going on. Supplier is colluding or hiding from the regulator, and the regulator isn’t doing their work. The insurer part colludes because if they don’t they have to pay out compensation. Now its going to be worse. The claims lawyers will get their teeth into it now PPI money is drying up.

    So what is it about the NHS that the public like?

    1. Universal coverage.

    That’s the main one.

    2. The other, is minor and its lip service, free at the point of use. Prescriptions, dental, isn’t free at the point of use.

    So how to organise it.

    1. You have to buy insurance. If you don’t have enough money, its comes in the form of welfare. It’s for standardised costs. Swiss has one with three rates. Under 18s, 18s to 25, and the rest.

    This also deals with health tourism.

    2. Insurers are allowed to refuse to insure you. Wait …. If you get two refusals, you go to the government, and they pick the name of an insurer out of a hat, pro rata to market share. That insurer has to insure you. The reason is that it prevents an insurer being picked off by all the bad risks. You pay the standard costs.

    Everyone gets insured, and insurers get a risk they can manage.

    Since the insurer isn’t the supplier, its not about medical care.

    Now the government can regulate without conflict of interest. Imprison, fine and ban the bad doctors and nurses that are killing people. Close down the hospitals that are slaughtering people, and move in, clean up and sell off.

    If the unions don’t like it, here’s an option. They set up and run a not for profit hospital.

    About the only area where I might make an exception is A&E. I think that needs different models.

    The other being contagious illnesses. There, even for visitors, its treat first. However, if they are subsequently found to be without insurance, they get billed. If they don’t pay they get kicked out.

  17. Newsbot9

    Yes, you keep trying to slaughter hundreds of thousands every year. Gotta butcher the poor by raising healthcare costs!

  18. Newsbot9

    Yes, America has massive systematic under-reporting given the number of people who never enter the system at all and just die.

    And of course you want to charge three times for medical services.

  19. Newsbot9

    Yes, keep talking up your horse meat. That’s how you view people, after all, meat to be slaughtered by denying them medical care.

  20. Newsbot9

    Under Thatcher, we had an underfunded system with terrible results. The NHS was catching up with it’s funding increases (which happens) at last, when your Tories disorganisation sent it reeling back again immediately.

    Of course you want Trusts to have to pay into hospitals where all the cash vanishes into your private sector pockets, leaving the poor paying for medical care AND the NHS.

  21. Mick

    Labour created our own mess by driving the economy to ruin by overspending and rampant borrowing. With nothing in the kitty and most of our gold sold ofgf cheap by Gordon Brown.

    And whilst lefties blame American fat cats for the sub prime scandal, it must be remembered that Barack Obama backed it at one time for ‘equality’ reasons. And a couple of years back, he ordered banks to do it again.

  22. Mick

    People always say the NHS is underfunded under ANY government. And as I recall, more cash than ever has been pushed into the NHS and half never seems to do anything to cure any patients.

    The system does need reform. Maybe abolish Trusts altogether, except as small sub-contracted groups to handle new laws or source supplies, leaving specialists and bursars to handle money direct at hospital level.

  23. Newsbot9

    Yes, keep up the myth-making. The percentage of GDP spent on the NHS was very low under Thatcher, and still lags the average for the developed world.

    And of course you want massive duplication of function and a loss of accountability. Gotta pull that cash away from patient care somehow!

  24. Newsbot9

    That’s right. You’ll have to pay for a regulator, a supplier AND an insurer. Two of those regardless of your means and if you get treatment, of course.

    Of course you need to abolish universal coverage, have massively expensive premiums, have only basic cover in most cases…with few staff. People will “pay” for healthcare and get very little. But your health companies make a massive profit (primarily off the government mandate, of course).

    Meanwhile, actual health workers rather than a few people who do nothing because they’ll get sent to jail, in a few sites around the country, will require a separate payment… And of course you want cash-up-front for A&E too.

    And you’re infected with hatred. Get out, or pay tax. Pick.

  25. Newsbot9

    Keep on mindlessly chanting the Austerity Gospel of St. Osbourne

  26. Newsbot9

    Yes, well done, you’ve cut staffing levels. You’re responsible.

  27. Mick

    Why does Newsbot never say anything even remotely relevant to the posts he replies to?

  28. Newsbot9

    How dare I debunk your posts! Keep on posting far right nonsense here.

  29. Mick

    Debunk? He does everything other. You talk about genocide, you call names and go on about ‘spitting on the workers’ when the subject is Trident or the NHS or the economy.

  30. Newsbot9

    Yes, keep managing to use the wrong tense, foreigner. And I am accurate, yes, about your views when you troll here.

    You then incoherently scream at anyone who uses cause and effect.

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