Sack the lot!

Baroness Thornton

The Commons ended their Committee consideration of the Health and Social Care Bill last Thursday.

The proceedings illustrate that parallel universes really do exist. There is the one inhabited by Simon Burn MP, his boss Andrew Lansley MP and other Health Ministers and then there is the world the rest of us inhabit.

The first group is full of the jargon and management speak of NHS Reform. It is designed to obfuscate and sometimes mislead. Here is a typical extract from the proceeding on 15th March (col 690). It illustrates perfectly what I mean

“Monitor will become an economic regulator for health services. (It) will licence all providers of NHS funded service in a similar way to other economic regulators in other sectors”.

In plain English that means Monitor will be like utility regulators Ofcom, OfGem, or OfWat. Monitor will in future be responsible to the Competition Commission. Perhaps they can help? But no. When asked if the Competition Commission had any experience of improving the quality of patient care Health Minister Mr Burns replied (col 716)

“No, but it has considerable experience of competition policy”

Well that’s ok then!

Do we need to find a new name for Monitor? I am not sure OfHealth quite works, but all suggestions welcome.

There has been a discussion in the House on the future (or more probably the abolition) of two very important institutions: the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Tissue Authority. It was part of the larger debate on the Public Bodies Bill, consideration of which is nearing its end in the Lords.

We had a short but pointed debate. It began at 11pm on Monday. The Minister – the highly respected and well regarded Earl Howe – was isolated and couldn’t offer the assurance that Members’ sought. The future of two bodies that carry the burden of some of the most sensitive ethical issues in modern medicine is too important to be left until a late night discussion in a nearly empty chamber. We may need to return to this discussion during prime time.

Lord Low is a Cross Bencher with an amazing record of championing the disabled.

On Tuesday in Question Time he raised the matter of the Government’s strategy on blindness.

On Wednesday there were two short debates in the Grand Committee Room. These time limited debates (of an hour) allow Members to bring forward very specific questions for discussion.

A debate initiated by Baroness Thomas of Winchester was devoted to strategy and resources for conditions like muscular dystrophy. The second hour was devoted to Giant Cell Arteritis – a condition linked to a form of rheumatism and causes blindness if not detected and treated. This was promoted by Lord Wills. These debates are a very good way of holding the Government to account and raising sometimes neglected but important issues.

Thursday brought the 7th All-Peers’ Seminar on the Health and Social Care Bill. This one looked at tackling the issue of the patients’ voice and accountability. There was a very good discussion about how effective the proposals in the Bill might be and where the Bill may need strengthening.

In the afternoon there was a two hour debate about health care standards and commissioning. Lord Owen launched an Exocet with a masterly 4 minute contribution which ripped the Bill apart. Lord Owen has published a pamphlet called “Fatally Flawed” which, apart from its excoriating criticism of the Government’s proposals, advised the Prime Minister that he should sack and replace all his Health Ministers. I recommended the pamphlet to anyone with an interest in health policy. We shall see if the PM takes notice of the advice.

The week ended when Norman Tebbit took up the fight for the future of the NHS with some incisive remarks. It does make you wonder where the support is for this Bill?

“The ex-Cabinet minister and Margaret Thatcher’s former hatchet man admitted grave concerns they could do “considerable” damage to NHS hospitals.
His comments are the latest blow to David Cameron, following criticism from doctors, nurses and midwives.
Lord Tebbit said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s plans could bring “unfair” competition, enabling private firms to cherry pick.”

Read more:

On Friday a group of Peers, again from across the House, had lunch with the Royal College of Physicians. During it we were given several presentations about the very serious concerns this important organisation has about the Government’s proposals. I was particularly struck by the problems of workforce recruitment and training. If it takes 15 years to produce the best consultants how will that be achieved with the fragmentation of the Health Service that this legislation brings?

7 comments for “Sack the lot!

  1. Dave H
    04/04/2011 at 10:02 am

    It sounds a bit like the rail privatisation in many ways, which has been subsequently acknowledged by some of those responsible as not being particularly good. The postal services are going the same way, with Royal Mail being left to pick up the pieces after all the lucrative bits get taken over by other companies.

    I guess it shows that no matter who’s in power, government continues regardless.

  2. maude elwes
    04/04/2011 at 11:35 am

    As I wrote on another thread, the government has no intention of making the NHS work efficiently. It is not on their agenda. Privatisation is their remit as the money they feel they and their friends will earn from it once out on the open market is presently going down the drain.

    Yes, sack the lot of them is the only answer.

    However, Labour were just as sinister and just as inept.

    So, what we need is a whole new party in order to be able to vote with our head and hearts. Whigs could be their name. But then maybe not!

    Or, perhaps it could be names, The Party of the People, by the People. Now that would make a nice change.

  3. Gareth Howell
    04/04/2011 at 12:05 pm

    ” Human Tissue Authority. ”

    Does that include Organs?
    It sounds innocuous……

    The management speak of the NHS is so complex,
    as to require a foreign language course for entry there in.

    • Baroness Thornton
      Baroness Thornton
      06/04/2011 at 4:17 pm

      The Human Tissue Authority was formed to protect the use of human tissue including organ donation from either misuse, commercial exploitation and ensure that life saving research can continue.
      Sorry about the jargon – but it is an imporant organisation doing an important job on behalf of everyone.

  4. Carl.H
    04/04/2011 at 2:21 pm

    Sack the lot!

    Now there’s an idea.

    We have a Tory party attempting to implement the total Country running plan of failed leader Ian Duncan Smith. A clueless bunch of Ministers led by Dave, alright Dave(Trigger style), whose one repeated line is blame Labour for the mess. His neurotic sidekick, Nick, is the worst car salesman on the planet and gets caught in every lie, which is just about every time he talks.

    And Labour have got……well nothing really at all. It’s one thing to be a commenter on a blog where I can say over and over that’s wrong and that and that but I don’t have to propose an alternative. I don’t get paid by the taxpayer to have an answer and run the friggin Country properly. £63k+ a year to state it’s all wrong would be very nice, so maybe you are right….Sack the lot !

    The latest tory solution to the NHS includes building all new incinerator plants next to hospitals. Full shower facilities in the hospital to eradicate bugs and to save the parking problems running trains directly to them….I’m sure this was tried before or something similar. hmmmm

    • maude elwes
      07/04/2011 at 2:37 pm

      £63,000 plus expenses for 150 days a year. So it’s a part time job.

      And then they give away the tax payers money willy nilly. Example: Baroness Warsi leading ‘Dave’ up the garden path in order to give her country of origin 650m for improvements to Pakistani schools, whilst the money goes into the back pockets of the extremists. Of course it’s done under the guise of ‘we’ the British are the cause of their predicament. And seemingly, neither the adivisors or the PM himself didn’t read history. GB is not remotely responsible for their predicament. They are.

      What we really need in Parliament are coster mongers, they can see you coming. This lot are too ‘well bred’ to know when they are being taken. hook line and sinker. But the tragedy is, it’s not them being taken it’s the people of this nation.

  5. MilesJSD
    04/04/2011 at 5:14 pm

    The NHS needs to come clean as the British National Illnesses, Medications, and Hospitals Sector (NIMHS) and to focus itself upon just that.

    Give up kidding the British People that “the Doctor” -“the Chemist” – “the Hospital”, is in charge of our Health-building.

    Come out as an Expert Medical Sector, whose exclusive priority is to treat Illnesses and Injuries, to prescribe Medications, to run Hospitals, and to manage Epidemics

    otherwise it is continuing its own Big Lie, that it is not just “a” but “the” exclusive national health service.

    “Nation” means “The Peoples”
    (who are in turn governed by a Nation-State)

    so any Body claiming to be a “nation-al health service” is purporting to support and strengthen the Health of all the many kinds of People within the nation-state, regardless of the treatment of Illnesses, Injuries, and Epidemics.

    My submissions to previous threads have contributed very strong factors for a separate Sustsin-worthy Health, Holistic-living, and longterm Wellbeing-building service for the Well, as well as for the ‘qualifying-Ill or Convalescent’,

    to be founded quite separately from the Nation-State’s lllnesses, medications, and Hospitals treatment service.

    I think the NHS should be renamed the British Illnesses, Medications & Hospitals Sector; a sector in its own responsibility and ‘right’;

    and that the terms ‘Health’, ‘Holistic-living’, ‘Wellbeing-building’, and ‘Sustain-worthy-lifestyling’ should be handed across exclusively to a separate British-peoples Health & Wellbeing building service.
    But since that is unlikely to be made to happen, the only immediately-possible and reasonably-honest, honourable and ‘face-saving’ alternative would be for the existing NHS to be divided into two main branches, from top to bottom
    (and beyond the ‘bottom’)

    one Secretariat-Ministry and Board directing Illnesses, Medications, Epidemics and Hospitals i.e. all the Un-Healthy happenings in Britain and amongst the Patient-population;

    and a quite separate and different second branch, with Secretariat-Ministry and Board supporting and servicing all the Healthy-habits and Wellbeing-building needs and potential, of people as persons, not as ‘patients’.
    As I have said elsewhere, such a clear and clean differentiation would not only reduce the ballooning incidence of illnesses, medications, and hospitalisations, it would start in train sustain-worthy lifestyling throughout the British peoples;
    it would save huge amounts of money and obviate much un-necessary human-suffering and professional-failure;

    and what is more, it would go a very long way to completely meeting both the spirit and the word of the UN WHO 1978 Primary Health Care Declaration from Alma Ata,

    instead of continuing as if dead-scared to advance into new and better paradigms, and having to “hide” primary health and self care under the pre-established
    (but ‘monopolistic’ and clearly not-working-well-enough NHS else why the big focus on constructing the peacefully-revolutionary 1978 Declaration of Primary Health Care ?) –

    it was all swept under “Primary Medical Care” which became the newly but falsely named “Primary Health Care” with its ensuing Trusts and HAZ’s and dominantly one-way “Doctor-patient relationship”, and confusions-contusions without end.

    Be self-corrective;
    be charitably-honest and recognise the 1978 UN spirited-initiative, and our democratic followers’ submissions and constructive-suggestions;
    and come out clear-faced and non-duplicitous:

    The Health of the British People could be much better supported, and our long-term Wellbeing be genericly increased, by clearly establishing a true Health-building service quite separately from the National Illnesses Service.


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