Revisions and decisions on healthcare

Baroness Murphy

Andrew Lansley

It was a good day yesterday to observe the totally different styles of debate in the Commons and the Lords. At 3.53pm Andrew Lansley, Secretary of

Earl Howe

State for Health started giving his statement in the Commons about the government’s response to the NHS Futures Forum (That’s the ‘listening exercise’ to suggest ways of amending the Health and Social Care Bill). The parliamentary equivalent of bear-baiting followed, with almost no serious debate about whether the resulting Government plans would be a constructive response to the criticisms or not. It’s at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110614/debtext/110614-0001.htm#11061453000003.  The Speaker intervened to quell the worst behaviour but even so it was a sorry spectacle. I am not sure that anything was achieved at all except to confirm that politics can be tawdry and ill-mannered business. Ten minutes later the exact same statement was repeated by Earl Howe in the Lords, at  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110614-0001.htm#11061452000429 . There was general agreement in the Lords that the Government response has been amazingly positive to the criticisms and that in some ways they had gone further in addressing some of the bill’s problems that many health service staff, voluntary organisations and local authorities had requested. Of course there are still fundamental principles of a regulated system versus a central management system to argue over but the debate was reasoned, brief and to the point. Lord Darzi, the former Labour health minister made complimentary remarks, almost all the crossbenchers who spoke did too. But they did ask pertinent searching questions of relevance. Lord Darzi asked about the quality and support of NHS leaders; Lord Hunt of Kings Heath made some telling remarks about the need to improve primary care and Lady Hollins wanted more reassurance about services for vulnerable groups. It’s interesting that when former MPs arrive in the Lords from the Commons they do nearly always conform to the better behaviour of the Lords. With some it takes time and advice from colleagues behind the scenes of course.

 

29 comments for “Revisions and decisions on healthcare

  1. danfilson
    15/06/2011 at 2:30 pm

    Perhaps it is because Earl Howe is a gentleman and Andrew Lansley is not.

    • maude elwes
      15/06/2011 at 4:40 pm

      @Miles:

      Or it could be because Freddie Curzon is handsome and Lansley not.

  2. 15/06/2011 at 3:19 pm

    ‘It’s interesting that when former MPs arrive in the Lords from the Commons they do nearly always conform to the better behaviour of the Lords.’

    I have a few thoughts on some of these individual statements within the larger overview of events.
    First of all, to address what I have repeated above from the larger context: I am inclined to ask, and actually feel rather rediculas doing so, but my question is as fallows: If the commons know the house of Lords has a better attention, focus, and overall better behavior, why then, do the lords need to reform? Why not the commons?

    Forgive me as I know that is not the topic at hand-yet I felt it was need to be said.

    Second, as I have stated in prior posts, I believe spiritual aspects of governance to be Very Important. What did the revered Primate say about such matters?

    ‘Ten minutes later the exact same statement was repeated by Earl Howe in the Lords, at…’

    Thirdly, [See above quote] What manner of behavior was it exactly? True, we can read all the hansards we want, but it hardly gives the image of what happened as far as human interactions.

    I know I still have much to learn about the world of the English Parliament, but I feel that the best way to do that is from the horses mouth-so to speak.
    (Also, I checked the contact forums on the main site, do any of the lords or ladies have an email?)

  3. Baroness Murphy
    Baroness Murphy
    15/06/2011 at 5:55 pm

    danfilson, I’ve always found Andrew Lansley to be a model gentleman but it is true that for sheer centuries of good breeding Earl Howe is hard to beat. syst5555. Yes on days like that I do rather see your point. There is no doubt that the Commons bahaviour is often embarrassingly bad, as if they were attending a football match rather than a debate. It would help debates along if Members remembered to be considerate of others, kept to the substance of policy, sat down when others spoke and listened to what others had to say. I’m dreaming of course but it is sad to see members of Parliament behave boorishly in ways they would surely never do in private. It’s true that the real tenor of the debate does not come through in Hansard; you don’t hear the continual and unneccessary rude interruptions, the noises off, the rowdy muttering and general disregard for what the Minister was saying.

    • danfilson
      15/06/2011 at 6:38 pm

      You would be surprised how much the armchair viewer picks up and quietly applauds the Speaker for attempting to control the hubbub.

    • Senex
      15/06/2011 at 10:21 pm

      I think you miss the point somewhat of Parliament. It is a highly ritualised containment for conflict that amongst other things prevents physical hurt or injury to those in disagreement. To deplore the conduct of its members is to criticise the Speaker. In the Commons down the length of the front benches is a line painted on the floor. No MP may cross this line in debate and the practice has become an idiom called ‘Towing the Line’.

  4. Gareth Howell
    15/06/2011 at 7:36 pm

    Perhaps it is because Earl Howe is a gentleman and Andrew Lansley is not.

    You’ll need your lookalike specs if you are in the corridors or Portcullis dan if you say things like that.

    Content is king!

    The noble baroness was/is, as I understood it, a psychiatrist within the NHS, which surely gives a special insight in to the problems of the greater organization.

    I don’t think I have ever heard an inspiring overview of the organization, ever from anybody. Perhaps it is just not that kind of organization.

    If it were, it would be provided by those with senior hospital management experience, who are responsible for the costs of every individual hospital business.

    I heard an Indian gentleman the other day insisting vehemently on an evening program R3
    that costs should be made king and that every patient should be aware of the cost of the op before it is done (I’ve mentioned this already)

    It would make no difference but if the patient had his dole or pension cut by a fiver a week, even for a ten or twenty thousand pound op, it certainly would!

    As it is the surgeons have a field day with their knives, and make the patient worse and with much LONGER dole/disability claims!

    the answer may be to pay the surgeon by results and if the op is a success to pay him and if it is not to send him packing without a fee at all!

    As it is the surgeon says “Oh! that is no problem! Malpractice? Negligence? I’m well insured!”

    Yes and who by!!?

    Within a couple of years of a new Wessex trust hospital being opened local malpractice solicitors had HUNDREDS of claims to deal with. Good business all round except for state enterprise, in the short term.

    State Health, the very lowest common denominator of care, the very lowest common denominator of the definitions of health.

    Nothing to do with equality at all!

    Professional care which is concerned with sickness and not with healing at all!

    Amateur carers would do infinitely better.

    It is all about state monopolies
    colluding with “trade” and “profession” monopolies to achieve their nefarious ends.

    Same in teaching; absolutely no difference at all.

    Take cosmetic surgery, either in dentistry or
    other surgery.

    If a woman with excessively large breasts goes to the NHS asking to have them reduced she is given cosmetic surgery; this means a crippling operation in terms of breast feeding and a DISFIGURING operation which gives her something extremely ugly to think about for the rest of her days.

    Had she gone to a PRIVATE hospital and paid (today about £5,000) a wonderful and excellently beautiful crafted breast would be given her.

    The answer to the problems of the NHs is that if you want something well done cosmetically
    don’t go near an NHs dentist or an NHs surgeon.

    Avoid them like the devil, and then you will have the most inspiring message of all.

    STEER CLEAR!

    • danfilson
      16/06/2011 at 9:21 pm

      @Gareth Howell : Perhaps I was a little ungentlemanly about Mr Lansley who, for all I know, may be an absolute sweetie in private. Earl Howe has a more civilised house to address. I did not realise that the House of Lords do not have sword separation lines as in the House of Commons.

      As to your remarks “State Health, the very lowest common denominator of care, the very lowest common denominator of the definitions of health. Nothing to do with equality at all! Professional care which is concerned with sickness and not with healing at all!
      Amateur carers would do infinitely better …” I have to disagree. I spent 6 weeks in Charing Cross Hospital in 2008, including 3 operations, 4 periods in intensive care, and 48-hour stroke, and both the surgical work and the nursing care was very good. The nursing care would not, I suspect have been much better if I had been a private patient, which given I was admitted via A&E would have been unlikely anyway even if I could have afforded it. As to amateur care, then a family member can – in some families – be more caring but less professional when it comes to physical handling (I took a bit of lifting and had a lot of tubes attached).

      Personally I have no intention of having any plastic surgery – people must just take me as I am, lopsided face or whatever. But I think you are talking of cosmetic vanity surgery for image enhancement – reconstructive surgery by the NHS is, I believe, very good. But you may have more experience in this area.

  5. David
    16/06/2011 at 4:01 am

    Yes I do most certainly agree with Baroness Murphy. The MP’s act as if they are in a football match. And we all do wish that all the members in terms of their conduct would be much better than what you see on the TV screen every day.

  6. MilesJSD
    milesjsd
    16/06/2011 at 7:57 am

    I s w m l e*

    some conflicting topics in and around this overall Title “Revisions and decisions on healthcare” and its apparent Topic-Question
    (‘) How healthy, cooperative, and constructively-competitive are the behaviours of the two Houses, separately and comparitively, when under various Debate-Rules(‘).

    So the title could have been “Debates-Behaviours in the Two Houses”.

    The subject is of course “The Health and Social Care** Bill”;
    and this latter alone should have created new vocabulary, for discussion by all levels of The People, equally with all levels of the NHS, and then by the Nation’s Governance and by the Nation-State’s constitutional-judiciary; possibly receiving advocacy from the appropriate EU and UN governance-bodies.

    Even many GPs and NHS staff agree with those who have long said (that)
    (“)Britain has never yet achieved purely a Health Service; the so-called NHS has nevertheless always been practically successful, and is continually improving as, a “British Epidemics, Illnesses, Medications and Hospitals Sector” (“).

    The UN WHO 1978 Primary Health Care was all swept under the pre-dominant Primary Medical Care**

    ** ‘care’ therein being actually a misleading misnomer for (i) robust-medical-and-legal-intervention (ii) ‘treatment’ (iii) remediation (iv) case-management (v) referral-to-other-robust-interveners (such as Psychiatry, Housing, Local-Government Social “Care”, and/or the Police.
    So has ‘Social Care’ been handcuffed to such ‘Primary Medical Intervention’ ?
    —————————–
    I s w m l e = “I spy with my little eye”.

    231 words.0757Th160611.JSDM.

  7. Gareth Howell
    16/06/2011 at 10:05 am

    quietly applauds the Speaker
    always with one hand, except on that notable occasion when T Blair departed from the HofC and the Speaker asked for applause with two hands. He got a an ovation from both sides.

    a gentleman and Andrew Lansley is not.

    You miss the point somewhat of Parliament. It is a highly ritualised containment for conflict that amongst other things prevents physical hurt or injury to those in disagreement.

    I suppose that Kelly got a lot admiration from other civil servants, and himself (rip) for breaking the rules and attending meetings in the committee rooms, without so much as by your leave or thank you, whilst a civil servant. It is and was of course arguable that it is against them.

    Now that Dan has retired he may certainly do that without any b-y-l. He may have plenty to contribute, but possibly not the above remarks, or activities(!) which Senex has wisely noted for him!

  8. Syst55555
    16/06/2011 at 11:34 am

    ‘Yes I do most certainly agree with Baroness Murphy. The MP’s act as if they are in a football match. And we all do wish that all the members in terms of their conduct would be much better than what you see on the TV screen every day.’

    Why not remake the commons with the remaining lords after the reformation of the house?

  9. Baroness Murphy
    Baroness Murphy
    16/06/2011 at 3:04 pm

    Toeing the line, Senex? Towing the line is what they do at the annual Commons v Lords tug of war contest.

    • Senex
      16/06/2011 at 7:47 pm

      Oops! Do you know I have never actually written the phrase down? Well spotted.

      From the Parliament website ‘Floor of the House’:

      “The Floor of the House is the term used to describe the area in the House of Commons and the House of Lords occupied by either MPs or Lords. It is the part of the Chamber where the business of the house is conducted, beyond the Bar of the House as opposed to the galleries occupied by press and public. The Bar of the House is the name given to a white line across the width of the Chamber of the House of Commons and to a rail in the House of Lords, marking their boundaries. MPs are called to the bar of the House of Lords at the State Opening of Parliament and to hear the Royal Assent to Acts of Parliament. They are not allowed beyond this point when the House is sitting. In the House of Commons, Members of the House of Lords and the public are not allowed beyond the bar when the House is sitting.”

      Taking the virtual tour:

      http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/online-tours/

      The red toe lines are not painted either you missed that; they are part of the carpeting? You can see the white line, bar of the house, but is it just some white tape stuck to the floor. It used to be a wooden pole when men were men; I wonder what happened to it. The bar of the house in the Lords is not a bar at all? It is a court style witness stand so why is it called a bar.

      Hansard, some answers perhaps?

  10. Twm O'r Nant
    16/06/2011 at 6:16 pm

    “Yes I do most certainly agree with Baroness Murphy”

    I don’t for a single moment on that subject.
    HofC debate is as it is, because it matters; HofL because it does not.

    • danfilson
      19/06/2011 at 9:20 am

      Ouch! Below the belt.

  11. maude elwes
    16/06/2011 at 6:54 pm

    You can watch it here.

    To get to the Health Bill is a wait. But, worth wating for.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120z4j/House_of_Lords_Education/

  12. Gareth Howell
    17/06/2011 at 10:01 am

    Or it could be because Freddie Curzon is handsome and Lansley not.

    I’ll spare DF this time and quote ME who is more on the right tracks! Of course Earl Howe is an Earl and not just a gentleman.
    Lansley is merely a cabinet minister, on big bucks, but care(!)

    I’ve looked up the Wiki link on account of the name Howe and Howell having obviously enough similar origin, but never any suggestion that it is anywhere near the same family or even “tribe”. The noble Lord Howe
    of Neath/Swansea (Mrs T’s Chancellor for a while) makes it quite clear that he is kith and kin of Howell of Carmarthenshire, yet the same name of the Earl is not.

    My recent research in to the Howell line of descent reveals a working association between
    James Howell Esq. Historiographer Royal and the Scropes 1st Earl of Sunderland in the 1620s, and the assumption was that there was family link of some sort, so there is the Hywel Dda link again.

    James Howell knew very well his close relationship to, for example, the Earl of Pembroke,(5th cr?) but merely worked for Scrope.

    The link between the two creations of the Earldom, and there is by no means always any link whatsoever, is the Lady mentioned below,
    Lady Sophia Charlotte.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Scrope,_1st_Earl_of_Sunderland

    The aforementioned Lady Sophia Charlotte, who succeeded her father as second Baroness Howe in 1799

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Howe

    I am very much blesséd to have a 17thC Historiographer Royal as a forebear, offering very much a window on the century of the civil war, which effected all their lives so much.

    • maude elwes
      17/06/2011 at 12:59 pm

      @GH:

      Gossip has it that aristocrats marry their cousins in perpetuity…. So, you don’t have to research too avidly to find all have family connections.

      Geneology is indeed an intriguing subject and by its very nature opens many cupboard doors hiding skeletons of one kind or another.

    • danfilson
      17/06/2011 at 2:35 pm

      Never mind all that, the real reason is that Earl Howe is a Whig and Mr Lansley is a Tory.

      I think the Government benches in the Lords should be realigned into Whigs and Tories.

      • maude elwes
        18/06/2011 at 3:56 pm

        @DF:

        Whigs and the Aristocratic influence.

        http://www.jstor.org/pss/1881535

        • danfilson
          19/06/2011 at 4:29 pm

          Exactly Maude, the purpose of Whigs is to concede that minimum that will enable the row to blow over but leave as much as possible of the status quo intact. In that sense they were different from the days of Charles James Fox and his colleagues who at times were quite radical. In a sense Disraeli, too, was a Whig. But the Tories were then men like Wellington (until he hauled down his flag to concede defeat) and allied last-ditchers who can still be found in Parliament today. So the question is do the Conservatives have Whig or Tory leadership at present?

          • maude elwes
            21/06/2011 at 2:56 pm

            Well, Dan, I would say all these Tories, or, Whigs (a rose by any other name) may sport their baby Gap sweaters with abandon, but, the aim remains, take the less fortunate to the cleaners. After all, they are a walkover. Aristocrats have a vested interest in keeping sides with the establishment. It saves them from having to fight for a seat in the real world.

            Besides that, money is so alluring!

  13. Matt
    18/06/2011 at 10:43 am

    I’ve not watched the Lords debate, but I have watched highlights of the Commons debate – and I found nothing untoward about it. It’s quite right that a subject as crucial as the health service should arouse strong feelings.

  14. Gareth Howell
    19/06/2011 at 11:24 am

    Gossip has it that aristocrats marry their cousins in perpetuity…. So, you don’t have to research too avidly to find all have family connections.

    All people, not just the ones Maude mentions.
    There are things about the mother’s womb…..

    It is merely that literate men have it from the tip of the pen, and on paper, much, if not all, now having been transfered to internet docs.

    ——————

    Thanks to Dan for clarifying that with good humour!

  15. Baroness Murphy
    Baroness Murphy
    19/06/2011 at 11:33 am

    Matt, TV editors are very kind to debates, edited highlights usually includes the best contributions, the more seriously thought through speeches. Just as Hansard tidies up speeches and excludes ers and ahs, so TV editors tidy up behaviour (unless of course its the behaviour itself which is the news)

    • danfilson
      19/06/2011 at 12:34 pm

      The BBC Parliament channel is directed not to film hecklers or indeed violence but to focus on the speakers or the Speaker/Lord Speaker.

      They have occasionally and tentatively brought in some reaction shots though do not include yawns, peers asleep or scratching themselves etc. The microphones do not pick up all remarks “from a sedentary position” which at times is a bit of a pity as these are sometimes quite deflating or witty. The famous one on Mr Speaker Bercow was picked up more by the press than TV.

      Nonetheless, all said, I think viewers get a good view, and it is far more enlightening than watching the US Senate from what I’ve seen. I do think however that what an amendment purports to achieve could at times be described on the title bar in a little more detail. I also think we see a little too much of Westminster Hall debates and perhaps not enough of Commons chamber business, relative to the amount of Lords coverage charming and interesting though it may be. Though I suppose, jokingly, that some Commons coverage would have to be reserved until after the 9pm threshold (whereas Lords coverage is vastly preferable mid-afternoon to Judge Judy, Antiques Roadshow repeats and Bargain Hunt)

    • Matt
      19/06/2011 at 2:50 pm

      Lady Murphy: Thanks for the tip. I shall bear that in mind when watching Lords highlights 😉

      • maude elwes
        21/06/2011 at 2:58 pm

        PS:

        It doesn’t make FC less handsome though.

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