Unworkable and unnecessary elements of Health bill should be dropped

“The Social Liberal Forum and senior Lib Dems with expert knowledge of the NHS have long believed that the Health and Social Care Bill is seriously flawed and should only be enacted if substantially amended. It has now emerged that senior Conservative Cabinet Ministers and Conservative Home share the widespread concern over the Bill’s impact.

The NHS is already implementing many substantial changes to how frontline services are delivered in response to financial and demographic pressures – this Bill is irrelevant to those changes which can be carried out without new legislation. Where the reforms underway enhance the social liberal aspects of the healthcare system they should be completed with little further disruption, agreement across Parliament and in concert with the medical profession. The rest of the Bill should be abandoned in the interests of preserving a locally accountable, coordinated, comprehensive and cooperative health service.”

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15 comments on “Unworkable and unnecessary elements of Health bill should be dropped
  1. Dr Helena McKeown says:

    We must not confuse clinically led commissioning which is a good thing with this risky HSCB. The NHS does of course need to improve and continue to make efficiencies and doctors are keen to help with this through co-operation. We do not need the risks inherent within the HSCB to do this. If these risks are not true, then why won’t our coalition government publish the risk register? It is not too late to stop the Bill. Do not believe those advocates who say we are too far gone or that we will be left in a mess. We are not too far gone, we have made variable headway in different parts of England and what we have been left with we can manage with, build from the lessons learnt and spread goood practice.

  2. susi shafar says:

    I agree with all above; one aspect that has never been cliarified is whose decisions on commissioning will have precedence , the GP consortia or the Locan Authority Health and Community Services Committees? I wrote to Paul Burstow about this, but was told that they were bound to come to an agreement – but what if they don`t? Also, the late plan to “integrate” with Social Services seems to me impossible with the present structures – it won`t work unless there is a common budget, can there be?

  3. Peter English says:

    The bill is not needed, and will do irreperable harm. It is too complicated to try to unpick. It should be stopped, and the NHS allowed to evolve, rather than imposing a top down reorganisation.

    Lansley has made all sorts of “motherhood and apple pie” statements about the bill which are not true; and then characterises those who oppose it as opposing these good things. But the bill is all about privatisation of the NHS. It will no more put GPs in charge of commissioning than PCTs, PCGs, fundholding, and all the other previous initiatives – claimed to do this – did. All the bill will do is shift blame for reduced resources from politicians to doctors.

    I am disgusted that the Lib Dem party failed to stop the bill when it had the chance, last year. Cameron had famously promised “no top down reorganisation of the NHS”; it was not in the coalition agreement; and the lib-dems certainly hadn’t got anything like it in their manifesto. The tories, alone could never have got this bill through; it can only be done with lib-dem support, despite it being something that I am sure horrifies most lib-dems.

    We must unite – not to amend the bill (it cannot be amended and made into a good bill); but to stop it.

  4. Greg Smyth says:

    Given Simon Hughes’ comments today that the problem is with Andrew Lansley and his presentation rather than the Bill itself, I hope the SLF will increase the pressure on the Parliamentary Party to drop the bill, not pull some bait-and-switch trick over Lansley’s position.

    The problem isn’t the politics, it’s the bill pure and simple.

  5. Bob Owen says:

    About time too! The Commissioning Consortia rapidly morphed from David Cameron’s smooth “Your doctor will decide” into what was clarly a market based arrangement for which most conscientious GPS are unsuited and which would have to be bureaucrat led. Anyone with experience of any complex market will tell you that very quickly the only people who understand it are those who work it, and worse that no-one outside knows if the practitioners’ understanding is correct. The Bill must be stopped.

  6. Dr Rebekah Gronowski says:

    I totally agree with what Peter English has said. This Bill must be stopped in its tracks and scrapped completely NOW! Then a proper approach to the necessary reforms which are needed should be taken by people who are experts in the field of Health and Social Care. I don’t mean the layers of Administrators and pen-pushers, I mean the people on the ground, such as Doctors, Nurses and other Healthcare professionals who know what they are talking about and who know exactly where the money is being wasted and where the right cuts may be made, so that the NHS is run in a financially sustainable and efficient way.

    Now is the time to stop this Bill from moving forward – it is not too late even at this stage! Better to have no Bill during this term than an ill-thought-out, irresponsible Bill!

  7. Liam Rodden says:

    An assessment of the risks of the NHS Reform Plan that has been drawn up inside the Department of Health. The information commissioner has ruled that this document should be released. The government has appealed against his decision. Why does the Goverment wish to keep the risk assessment secret, if these reforms are as good for patient choice as Mr Lansley claims, then why are we not allowed to see the risk assessment, is there bad news he wishes to hide?
    A YouGov poll (12/02/12) found widepread opposition to the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Bill:
    18% support the reforms; 48% oppose.
    19% think increasing competition will improve NHS services but 49% disagree.
    23% think the Coalition should continue with the NHS reforms but 50% think they should be abandoned.
    Please listen to what the public is saying and drop the bill.

  8. Adrian Bedson says:

    If a Minister has to resign on account of an alleged fraud over a speeding offence, what sanction should be applied to ministers who deceived the nation by undertaking not to subject the NHS to radical change, and then did the opposite?

  9. Liam Rodden says:

    13/02/12 -Hours later, Nick Clegg told the BBC: “Andrew Lansley is the architect of the NHS bill. He cares passionately about the NHS. He’s the right man for the job and he must see it through.”
    I despair, with a leader like this what future has the Liberal Democrats got. The public will not easily forgive his slavish backing of the Tories in selling off the HNS. I think people will say in the next election ” why vote for a Liberal Dem when you will get a Tory” If our leaders are pressurised into ditching this bill we may have some chance of a future. I not, we are toast.

  10. Jacky Howe says:

    In the 80′s the Care in the Community Act sought to close long stay hospitals for the most vulnerable. It has never worked well precisely because of the lack of agreement between the NHS and Local Government on budgets – vulnerable people now live on the streets or in prisons! This complex and unworkable bill would have a similar effect – on the whole population – in that the big budget holders will fight for “their” resources without regard for the “customer” – you and I.

  11. Janet King says:

    I am puzzled by a letter I received today from the Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality (in the Department of Health), in which he restates the aims of the HSCB;
    1 Decisions about local services should be made as close to patients as possible by those who are best placed to work with patients and the public to understand their needs. ( I can see no problem there.)
    2 Doctors,nurses and other clinicians have told us that they want more control over how local services look and the freedom to design local services around local needs. (OK -will the HSCB do this?)
    3 Experienced managers will be retained to ensure a smooth transition and to support clinicians in tackling the financial challenges facing the NHS. (The promised extra £12.5 billions to 2015 should help) The new Bill will allow managers to spend more of their time focussing on patient care , free from political interference. (Could the downside of this be less public accountability with fewer local councils represented on local boards??)
    I am not ready to be convinced by Lord Howe’s arguments but I still need some proof that he is wrong.

  12. Liam Rodden says:

    Sign the petition- Drop the Bill:

  13. Sultan SID Dajani says:

    Blocking the good in this Bill will not automatically mean what we have now will improve in fact what we have now will only get worse because it is crumbling and unsustainable. Our NHS has only got this far because of the sterling efforts of all healthcare professionals in secondary and primary care but now it needs to be the patient. A simple yes or no vote is ludicrous, doing nothing is even more ludricous – it needs a debate and a constructive engagement. I think we need to be clear on whats good and bad with the new – how the good will fix the current bad and how we change the proposed bad into good. Am all for joining and supporting a popularist uprising but not an irresponsible one. We need to be constructive, not destructive – we need to lobby the government to pause so we can work together to make this Bill better and address our concerns? If anyone has alternative ideas please propose them and how that would benefit anything?
    I don’t have any vested interest except I’m an NHS clinician.

  14. Sultan SID Dajani says:

    I respect all previous comments but kindly beg to differ. I agree there is much wrong with the new Bill but believe successfully blocking it will not mean what we have now is an improvement. In fact what we have now will only get worse as it’s unsustainable. Our NHS has only got this far through the hard work of colleagues and other healthcare workers in both primary and secondary care.
    If the status quo is not the answer nor is stopping this Bill… changing it for the better should be. We need to be clear what’s good and worth keeping in the new Bill that’ll fix the issues we have now and we need to be clear about what’s wrong with the new Bill so we can make it better. Current systems are slow, sluggish and dwell in paper work, politics and democracy. A government should not be responsible for the NHS. NHS workers and patients know better and we should be calling and lobbying for a delay in the Bill. I’m all for a popularist uprising but not at the price of responsibility. If someone can tell me of a more suitable alternative or a better solution I would be happy to support it but to just call a halt is not viable and does not address the core issue of a long-term treatment plan for our NHS. Doing nothing only serves to disable a buckling NHS as it just won’t cope with the workload.
    I have no vested interest apart from working in the NHS as a clinician and being a prescriber.

  15. Richard Gunstone says:

    The major underlying fault of HSCBill is the purchaser/provider divide.This market introduced in 1991 seems to be regarded by so many as the only way to arrange the funding of the NHS but Wales and Scotland have shown we can function without the market and commissioning. Certainly we want doctors and other health professionals in control…(gp’s, hospital staff, nurses, public health speciialists, epidemiologists and academics.) Some of us can remember something like this in the days of district medical committees and variations on the management team theme. It is surely possible to revive and promote this reform and sav e £14billion of annual market transaction costs.

6 Pings/Trackbacks for "Unworkable and unnecessary elements of Health bill should be dropped"
  1. [...] cannot put it any better than the Social Liberal Forum does here; “You will have seen that the long-running debate over Andrew Lansley’s Health and [...]

  2. [...] the Health and Social Care Bill to go, a view closely if not exactly mirrored by the influential Social Liberal Forum.  And then there are those who are pushing for further amendments, to significantly alter the Bill [...]

  3. [...] the Health and Social Care Bill to go, a view closely if not exactly mirrored by the influential Social Liberal Forum. And then there are those who are pushing for further amendments, to significantly alter the Bill [...]

  4. [...] We therefore, with regret, no longer have any confidence that the Bill can be redeemed. We are now calling on the Liberal Democrat leadership to withdraw support for the Bill, while preserving those liberal elements that do not require legislation. Our full statement is here. [...]

  5. [...] of the Health and Social Care Bill to go, a view closely if not exactly mirrored by the influential Social Liberal Forum. And then there are those who are pushing for further amendments, to significantly alter the Bill [...]

  6. [...] We therefore, with regret, no longer have any confidence that the Bill can be redeemed. We are now calling on the Liberal Democrat leadership to withdraw support for the Bill, while preserving those liberal elements that do not require legislation. Our full statement is here. [...]

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