Dreaming of the Health Bill

Baroness Thornton

If it already feels like total immersion in the Health and Social Care Bill I cannot imagine what it will be like when we actually get to consider the blessed thing on the floor of the House. The whole world seems to feel the need to send briefing about the Bill

Yesterday for example, I met health inequalities advisors who are about to lose their jobs as the Department of Health closes the Health Inequalities Unit. It does sometimes – in fact often, feel like anything that went before must by definition have been wrong. These very dedicated NHS employees are only concerned that their experience and work in building up the knowledge and practical lessons about how to reduce health inequalities is not completely lost as new systems emerge. I fear the worst. This is definitely the down side of being in Opposition – the unthinking assumption that if the Labour Government did it, it must be junked.

One hopes in the House of Lords that a more considered view might be taken – and we shall see as the Health Bill progresses through our House.

We have a Labour Health and Social Care group, and we also met yesterday and had an excellent discussion about the forthcoming Bill, led by the very talented Liz Kendal MP who is a shadow minister and  part of the Opposition team in the Commons. Her analysis of the issues and her description of the Government floundering in Commons Standing Committee were greatly appreciated. I feel very fortunate to have such a talented and committed group of colleagues to support our Frontbench here in the Lords.

I know that I am going to become a complete Health Bill anorak partly because I have now started dreaming about the Bill. Sad really.

On Tuesday we held our 5th All Peers Seminar in preparation for the Bill. This series of seminars seem to have been very successful is teasing out some of the main issues that colleagues  will need to address and have certainly been well attended.  The Presidents of the Royal Colleges of GPs, Surgeons and Physicians were a very impressive bunch, but it is shame that the Nurses were not able to be there as I suspect they would have brought a quite different perspective to the discussion.

Despite the views of Baroness Murphy in her blog of 22nd March – the speakers for the Seminars have been very balanced. With the exception of the Royal College Presidents, there has been an excellent and usually very senior policy lead from the Department of Health on every panel, then in addition an informed commentator like the Nuffield Foundation or Kings Fund and one other. The idea is to inform and raise questions. Perhaps it’s the questions – of which there are many – the noble lady objects to.

Today  David Behan from the DH is leading a discussion about Social Care and the
bill, with input from a LGA speaker and people who deliver social care. Very balanced, but I expect some trenchant views and searching questions will be asked.

8 comments for “Dreaming of the Health Bill

  1. Lord Blagger
    24/03/2011 at 12:07 pm

    This is definitely the down side of being in Opposition – the unthinking assumption that if the Labour Government did it, it must be junked.

    Complete twaddle.

    It’s very simple. You spent so much money on the public’s credit card, that there is now the problem of paying for it.

    he Presidents of the Royal Colleges of GPs, Surgeons and Physicians were a very impressive bunch

    The same bodies that were warning about the consequences of setting up the NHS in the first place.

    Labour didn’t listen then, and now we have the consequences. 20,000 deaths a year where the NHS contributes.

    • Twm O'r Nant
      28/03/2011 at 11:19 am

      The same bodies that were warning about the consequences of setting up the NHS in the first place.

      Labour didn’t listen then, and now we have the consequences. 20,000 deaths a year where the NHS contributes.

      But not the RCP(Royal college of Pathologists) who having invented the syndrome ME (Myalgic encephalitis/CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) in honour of their foundation in 1954, have gone on to provide excuses for not working, to several hundred thousand people, who have not got the energy, are too tired or have a multiplicity of problems, which prevents them from doing so.

      I suppose death also is an excuse for not working,(Blagger, 20,000) but even though I am the former director of a national undertaker’s corporation, I shall not make too much of that, for fear of severely tempting providence!

  2. Baroness Murphy
    Baroness Murphy
    24/03/2011 at 8:03 pm

    Ah, Lord Blagger, always some cheery encouragement.
    Actually Lady Thornton I am very pleased there are lots of briefings and people keen to press their views in us, but as you know, even the tiniest change in the status quo leads to major angst in the NHS and particularly fro doctors. I seem to have received briefings from organisations where I cannot see for the life of me how it will make any difference to their special group. But these seminars are greatly appreciated by all of us and we are genuinely grateful for your having organised them. It would just have been nice to hear from some enthusiasts as well as the doom merchants. I enjoyed the Social Care stuff this morning, very informative.

  3. MilesJSD
    24/03/2011 at 10:50 pm

    I am an enthusiast for the reforms I have been supporting or promoting in my previous comments to Peers of the Blog;

    so in the matter of what any Peer involved in NHS issues likes or dislikes about “q

  4. Lord Blagger
    24/03/2011 at 11:29 pm

    Still complete twaddle from you.

    Briefings = lobbying. Who was lobbying and are they registered?

    7 Years of fat in the NHS, 20 years of lean (you have to count in the debt payments, since its all on the credit cards.

    300,000 per household, with interest on top.

    How are you going to pay your share of the debts the Lords OKed.

  5. MilesJSD
    25/03/2011 at 1:23 am

    Join me, Baroness Thornton – under the National Illnesses, Medications, and Hospitalisation Service, falsely named and claimed “National Health Service”, I have long since given up hope of “Health” and of “Individual Wellbeing building for All” ;

    instead I’ve worked at constructing some vital, but still heavily denied and repressed, short-lists of advances in both Individual Health & Human Development building and Group Wellbeing & Sustainworthiness building;

    so I gave up “dreaming” about “Health Bills” long long ago;

    Join me ?

    (A quick read of my previous comments, and under Baroness Murphy’s NHS 22 Mar below, should give you a snapshot of what I “stand for”, and some of the things I stand-against;

    – – – – –

    which I do not simply as a British citizen but in greater truth as a Would-Be Democratic Earth Citizen).


  6. maude elwes
    30/03/2011 at 12:45 pm

    The Government has no intention of righting the NHS. They are set on following the USA and removing the benefit altogether as they want a system that improves the opprtunities for big businesss in nedical supplies, pharmacueticals and shares to make a killing on the stock market. Either party is the same as can be seen as soon as they get office. The promises are dropped and the true objective takes over.

    Of course they will tell you differently, but, you only have to listen to the discussions and watch the action. The main objective of this government and the previous one is, ‘how can we give less to the tax payer’ to enable us to glean more to squander on matters that lead us into world events.

    For some odd reason, our political parties have this urge to be ‘big players’ on the world stage. (Couldn’t be large fees for talks and yacht rides with oligarchs could it) Along with Obama. And the only way you can do that is to use the country’s revenue on war games, foreign aid, weapons and every other useful rouse to pretend they are up to the job. Which daily it becomes more clear they are totally incapable of doing it and being it.

    Just take Libya. No one knows where the heck they are, let alone what to do. They tell us we are broke, yet, ignore the cost of war. Now why would they do that after, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the rest over the last thirty years. They want to play at walking down the White House red carpet beside the man they think is big boy. Blair like. Reality out of the window.

    So, both parties want chaos in the NHS in order to make the radical changes they have harboured for years. The next move, of course, like the US, is to make it safe for themselves, MP’s will have health care akin to the NHS for until death and for them it will be free. Special hospitals, like, Bethesda, will spring up and the surfs (us) will have to fund, after enormous taxation, some kind of insurance rip off to give us a sense of justice.

    The quicker we can get some kind of voting system that enables us to choose who will be our ‘true’ MP the better. These selected groups are a set up. As is obvious for any idiot to see. The trough awaits them and they can’t wait to get their faces in it.

    The answer is AV of some kind and then to vote them out, consistently and completely. Until we have a whole new ethos that is representative of the taxes paid.

    • maude elwes
      30/03/2011 at 5:22 pm

      PS: Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland.

Comments are closed.