An appeal to allow Conference to debate NHS reforms

Below is the text of a motion on the NHS reforms that wasn’t accepted for debate by Conference Committee, including two short update paragraphs. Dr. Charles West is appealing this rejection, if you’d like to support this appeal please click here to sign up.

Conference Motion on Heath

A) notes

1) the long-standing support of Liberal Democrats for the basic principles underpinning the National Health services: A high quality, accountable, responsive, accessible, comprehensive service, free at the point of use, funded by general taxation, with resources allocated fairly on the basis of need.
2) the decision of this conference in March 2011, to reassert our support for the implementation of the health policies in the Coalition Programme and to reject certain policies that were not in the Coalition Programme.

B) applauds the success of the Liberal Democrats in Government and in Parliament in obtaining amendments to the legislation and policy, including those which:-

1) increase transparency and accountability of Commissioning Consortia and ensuring they are responsible for the commissioning services for everyone living or visiting that area
2) uphold and promote the NHS constitution
3) rule out competition based on price as first suggested by the last Labour Government
4) modify Monitor’s role such that it is no longer an economic regulator charged with promoting competition as an end in itself,
5) recognises the importance of integrating health services and integrating health with social care in the interests of delivering high quality care.
6) the promise of fair financial arrangements to reimburse providers who treat patients with the greatest needs to tackle cherry-picking of patients by new providers;
7) remove the obligation on commissioning consortia to take responsibility for commissioning before they are ready and able.

C) recognises that the Government is itself no longer the universal provider of health services, but that democratic accountability of NHS services requires that the Secretary of State should retain the ultimate legal responsibility for securing the provision of NHS healthcare for the people of England

D) recognises that determining how to spend tax-payers’ money on NHS services is a public function, which must be carried out with full transparency, with the minimum of perceived or actual conflicts of interests; and reiterates our call for work which directly underpins commissioning decisions to be carried out using the skills and experience of NHS staff, and not be permitted to be outsourced to private companies.

E) Believes that promoting informed patient choice is desirable but, in the interests of equity, calls for:-

1) any legislative or mandated requirement on commissioners, the NHS CB or the Secretary of State, to enhance choice and competition should be a lower priority than their duty to increase quality and safety, improve fair access to services and reduce health inequalities.
2) patients, if utilising personal health budgets, to be prevented from spending tax-payers money on topping up privately-funded provision or on non-cost-effective treatments

F) endorses the proposition in the Coalition programme that public sector, voluntary sector providers and independent providers should generally be treated equally when services are commissioned or when providers are approved, subject to:-

1) there being a duty on the NHS CB, Consortia, Monitor and on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to carry out their functions in a way that avoids the risk of a transfer of such income or case-load as to undermine the ability of existing providers to provide emergency, complex case and intensive care services and to provide education, training and research and
2) that Monitor’s duty to prevent anti-competitive behaviour which is against the interests of patients, is matched by a duty to prevent anti-collaborative behaviour for the same purpose.

X) re-affirms its long-standing support for more local democracy in the NHS and calls for

1. Health and Well-being Boards (HWBs) to have a majority of elected members
2. local authorities exercising their overview and scrutiny function and HWBs to have the power of referral to the Secretary of State
3. commissioning groups to be fully co-terminous with social services local authorities, except where HWBs and local authorities agree otherwise
4. Directors of Public Health to remain independent sources of expert advice

Y) cherishes the fundamental values of the NHS and demands that
1. Commissioning groups are funded solely on the basis of the health needs of the population and the power to pay financial incentives to practitioners as a means of influencing their referral behaviour, is removed
2. the cap on Private patient income by NHS Foundation trusts is retained
3. the facility for transferring NHS assets, including land, to third party providers is removed

G) calls on Liberal Democrat parliamentarians to ensure that the current health reforms do not go beyond the coalition agreement in these areas

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14 comments on “An appeal to allow Conference to debate NHS reforms
  1. Sharon Cottingham says:

    I am a LibDem member but not a Conference Rep so probably I’m not eligible to support this.

  2. Catherine Smart says:

    I support this especailly the provision that there should be a majority of local authority elected members on the HWBs

  3. Richard Whelan says:

    I support this motion and efforts to get this on the agenda.

  4. Dr Anthony Lynch says:

    I believe that the current Landsley proposals continue the path of privatisation of the NHS; and The Market would therefore reign supreme.
    I support action to have a full debate, but am entirely opposed to the Bill and the ammendments made to it.
    Anthony L.

  5. Dr Richard Gunstone says:

    The Health and Social Care Bill is not needed and managing the NHS like a market is dangerous and expensive (£14 billion per year). Liberal Democrats should oppose the bill and work to get rid of the market in health carfe.

  6. Jane F Robins says:

    I support having a full debate.

  7. Joan Waller says:

    I support the move for a full debate but agree with Drs Gunstone and Lynch who advocate opposing the bill and for the same reasons.
    The electorate didn’t vote for this, nor did we as a party. I urge everyone to check what was agreed in the Coalition Agreement on the NHS.

  8. I am verey concerned about the way the goverment is going and I am afraid the libdems will take the blunt of the publics anger. We must stop legislation like this or I think we will betray the publics trust and so don’t deserve to be in goverment.

  9. Carolyn HEAPS says:

    Please allow more debate about this crucial bill at conference . We the Lib Dems may well become the scapegoats !

  10. Louise Bloom says:

    As someone who works in the voluntary sector alongside the NHS I am happy to support this.

  11. Chris Turner says:

    Lib Dems will find themselves vilified now and at the next elections if we do not debate this fully. The media must be made aware that we, the Lib Dems, are the only ones fighting to save this vital national service for the benefit of us all.

  12. Jean Hamilton says:

    I also support having a full debate.

  13. Alex Perkins says:

    I don’t want to be part of a party that won’t let members debate such a crucial issue as the future of the NHS. I don’t want to be a part of a party that stifles debate among members. I don’t want to be part of a party like this!

  14. Rebekah Gronowski says:

    I fully support this. Once the Bill has been passed through Parliament there will be nothing we can do to change anything. Such changes as we have managed to obtain are good but they don’t go far enough. Now is the time to get this really nailed – if it is not debated thoroughly at Conference (and there are many who are against that) we will have failed not only our own Members but the people of the UK.

    Why is the FCC so determined to prevent proper a debate of this?

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