The ultimate betrayal – Shirley Williams and the Lib Dems hit the NHS where it hurts

April 24 brought Lord Philip Hunt’s motion against the Health and Social Care Act Secondary Legislation Section 75 - a rarely achieved format in the Lords, only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

April 24 brought Lord Philip Hunt’s Pray Debate fatal motion against the Health and Social Care Act Secondary Legislation Section 75 – a rarely achieved format in the Lords, only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Lords on all sides had been inundated with letters and emails of concern – not just, as Shirley Williams said in what must count as one of the most disingenuous speeches this parliament,  due to “a blizzard” of distortion “extensively spread via social networks”, but because more and more of the general public had gained an understanding of basic procurement law.

If the law says that a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) may allocate a clinical service to a sole provider as long as none other are capable of running the service, then it stands to reason that the CCG will be more concerned with how to prove that when challenged than just going for the simple route of selecting their own long term preferred provider.

Far from the 40 staff of Monitor being equipped to block a legal avalanche, or Regulations 2 and 3 overriding errant 5, this is a lawyers-cum-privatisation charter which can only be stopped by CCGs undertaking the very tendering the coaltion are pretending they are preventing – whilst of course setting them up to do exactly that.

The Lib Dems decided that they would once again portray themselves as saviours of the faulty elements of the legislation – although some stared ahead in a rather fixed manner whilst Lord Clement-Jones and Shirley Williams spoke of the wondrous things they had done and of the terrible injustice in criticising their efforts.

Perhaps they had been hypnotised. Earl Freddie Howe turned his head from his front bench to fix his gaze upon Baroness Williams as she spoke –  in part needy, in part threatening. Hopefully he had a crick in his neck afterwards.

They continually stated that their own changes in March, meant no change since 2010 – conveniently ‘forgetting’ that the introduction of the Health & Social Care Act has changed everything. If no change – why bother with the Act or Section 75 at all? Do they think we didn’t notice? Probably.

Lord Warner (of Lewisham ) was overtly the most audacious of the night – not for him the mealy mouthed meanderings of the Lib Dems. Everything he has been saying in private, came to the fore in publicly disowning Labour’s efforts. This man is all about competition and the ‘managed market’ – he clearly stated he was “with Earl Howe” before sinking low in his seat to mutterings of disapproval. Let us hope that the party soon disowns him in return.

Although Lord Hunt presented an excellent case, the whipped Lib Dems declared solidarity with Earl Howe, which sadly meant he really knew that it was lost before he started. The Tories had dragged out all of Thatcher’s old contemptibles and from the conspiratorial looks being shot across the chamber, it was evident that Shirley Williams had worked her ‘magic’ on a couple of key cross benchers – where there were also notable abstentions.

The most moving speech of the night came from  Lord Owen – who spoke strong and true and visibly elicited more than a solitary tear when he mourned

‘tonight I feel one feeling only: overwhelming sadness’.

The debate in full:

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64 Responses to “The ultimate betrayal – Shirley Williams and the Lib Dems hit the NHS where it hurts”

  1. OldLb

    Tut. Personal attacks. You’ve been trying this for a long time without addressing the evidence.

    I’ve posted all the links. It’s clear you haven’t read them.

    the Chief Medical Officer for England estimated that 60 000 to 255 000 NHS patients each year suffer serious disability or death as a result of healthcare interventions

    Here’s one for a starter. So much for a world class heath care system.

    From the very link you state says 12K, there is also this

    Current Department of Health and the National Audit Office estimates suggest there are 40,000 preventable deaths each year in England.

    That’s the government saying 40,000 killed a year. Are you saying that the NAO are a bunch of liars?

  2. Cole

    Read the bloody article. It says that new research (2012) reveals the figure is under 12,000. It specifically rebuts the NAO figure. No doubt it was written by a bunch if communists.

    You’ve been quoting this article (‘peer reviewed’, blablabla) for months, but still don’t seem able (or want) to understand it.

  3. OldLb

    About 850 000 medical errors occur in NHS hospitals every year, resulting in 40 000 deaths.w1In the United Kingdom, the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) was created to learn from patient safety incidents occurring in the NHS.w2 In February 2004, it launched a new patient reporting system, drawing together reports of patient safety errors and systems failures provided by health professionals across England and Wales.w3 An adverse event can be defined as “an unintended injury caused by medical management rather than a disease process, resulting in death, life threatening illness, disability at the time of discharge, admission to hospital, or prolongation of hospital stay.” w4 A medical or surgical misadventure is an adverse event that might have been avoided if the patient had received ordinary standards of care. We look at four years of …


    BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 12 August 2004)

    Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:369

    Note – 40,000 deaths a year. That ignores the people maimed.

    You’re just on the side of the people who are killing people, not on the side of the people being killed or maimed,.

    Very simple google. Lots of research.

    Not surprising then that we have Staffs killing 1,200 people.

  4. Cole

    Even the very right wing TaxPayers Alliance say the figure of unnecessary deaths is under 12,000.

  5. cole

    The 2012 US Institute of Medicine study concluded there were about 75,000 unnecessary deaths in the US system; that compares with around 12,000 here, according to current research. Obviously our population is much smaller.

    Oh, the IOM study also showed that the American system was astonishingly wasteful.

  6. OldLb

    Read the BMJ article. 40,000.

    You wanted the BMJ article,.

    To quote you

    “For months you’ve been quoting a BMJ peer reviewed report which says that 40,000 people die unnecessarily each year in the NHS”

    There’s a link. You can click on it. 40,000 a year killed.

  7. OldLb

    And the BMJ article says 40,000.

    The NHS themselves estimated 20-80,000.

    We’ve had one hospital kill 1,200.

    Think how many hospitals in the UK and scale up. There are currently, as one example, another 9 Staffords under investigation.

    Slaughter is the correct word.

    And you are just like most in the NHS. Look the other way, but make sure you and your relatives don’t get treated in those hospitals. It’s ok for others to be killed.

  8. OldLb

    40,000 deaths for a population of 60 million

    75,000 deaths for a population of 300 million.

    NHS isn’t looking too good.

    Even you admit the US system is crap, yet even if we take the 12K figure, and scale it up by 6 fold for the size in the US population, that comes to 70,000.

    Hardly a ringing endorsement when the best you can come up with is to say the NHS is just as crap as the US.

    40,000 slaugtered a year, countless maimed.

    Why should they and their relatives pay the price so nurses and doctors carry on causing injury and death?

  9. OldLb

    But its still a false comparison.

    The far better comparison is UK versus another modern country.

    The NHS is worse than the US. 75K killed in the US, for 300 m population, 40K here for 60 m population.

    However, that still is largely irrelevant. It’s not a willy waving contest about how many bodies you can stack up.

    40,000 preventable deaths. Preventable is the key word.

    Where comparisons make sense, is when you look around to replace the NHS with a better system.

  10. Levinas

    As former MP Michael Portillo admitted, the Conservatives did not mention NHS “reforms” during the election because: “They did not believe they could win an election if they told you what they were going to do.”

  11. cole

    Still bleating on about your discredited 40,000 figure? You’re shameless.

    The US system is crap. It’s incredibly expensive compared to the NHS and doesn’t even cover everybody. And the American die earlier.

  12. OldLb

    40K a year in the UK for a population of 61 million. BMJ figures – You’ve had the link, I take it you can’t read it.

    75K a year in the USA. 300 million population less 80 million without insurance. [They still get treated in hospitals]

    75,000 / 220 million < 40,000 / 61 million

    The US system has a lower death rate than the NHS.

    Yep, the US system is crap. I agree.

    The UK system is far far worse.

  13. Jos Bell

    it’s a great shame you’ve hijacked a very moving response to the discussion about privatisation under the Section 75 rules with your desire to discredit the NHS with your own made-up figures. I can only imagine that you have very personal reasons for wishing to discredit the NHS – and I’m sorry for that. The figure is 12,000 – still too high, but set to significantly worsen with the current government’s external market tactics now in full throttle. One example being the chaos of 111.

  14. OldLb

    they are not made up.

    Are you saying that someone has submitted a paper to the BMJ where they made up the figures?

    That paper states 40,000 avoidable deaths.

    The NHS itself estimated 20-80,000.

    You’ve put out one paper that has a low figure of 12,000.

    That is a low estimate from what we now know. We know of at least 1 hospital that killed 1,200.

    We also know about the LCP, where patients are being bumped off without their consent. In lots of cases without their relatives consent. Even both of those cases are legally wrong. We know that patients cannot be help to commit suicide because of cases that have gone the whole way in the courts. There is no way that relatives can consent for their relative to be bumped off legally. And yet the NHS does this.

    It’s back to the core problem in the NHS. They are regulator, insurer and supplier in one. Hence the conflict of interest. Bump off patients to save money. Cover up 40,000 deaths a year (BMJ figures, not mine)

    Of course you will carry on denying that there is a paper out there stating 40,000 by accusing me of making things up. No doubt you’re one of the ones profiting from the NHS. After all no sane person would tolerate a death rate that high.

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