As the controversial NHS bill reaches a crucial stage in the Lords, Labour’s new Health spokesman Andy burnham has called on the Government to drop the bill. I hope the Coalition heeds his warning that the NHS is now in the danger zone. The Tories and Lib Dems have failed to build a consensus around their plans and it’s time for them to stop digging in. They should listen and change course or they will damage patient care.
Last week doctors in York were criticised for telling their patients that certain operations were no longer available on the NHS, and offering to provide these for a fee. This is the tip of the ice berg where the Tories are concerned of creeping privatisation of previously free NHS provision.
Andy burnham MP, Labour’s new Shadow Health Secretary, has written to Andrew Lansley with a constructive offer to resolve the “dangerous stalemate” on NHS reform. He believes the financial challenge is the overriding priority for the NHS but that the Government’s contested top-down re-organisation is proving to be a dangerous and damaging distraction.
As the House of Lords gets ready to debate the Health bill this week, Andy burnham has urged the Government to withdraw its bill. In return, he has pledged Labour’s support for developing true clinician-led commissioning in every locality in England – one of the key aims of Mr Lansley’s reforms. Labour believes that these reforms do not need legislation, and indeed could be implemented more quickly without it.
Andy burnham’s approach offers a way ahead that everybody could unite behind. It would bring much-needed stability and would help the NHS save money on the costs of re-organisation. People would be encouraged to see the main parties setting aside differences and working together for the good of the NHS.
I hope the Coalition Government accepts Andy’s offer to work together and that they dump the bill even the bMA in Swindon is calling on the Government to pull back from its plans, as they fear the NHS in Swindon will be very badly hit by them. What a waste of money the Government is planning billions on a reorganisation that the medical profession doesn’t want and will mean worse services for local people.