Monday, September 05, 2011

It's back : NHS privatisation

So, it would appear that it's back....after the Coalition's much publicised "Listening Exercise" it would appear there is around 1000 amendments but despite the national outcry over this bill the government are only giving MPs two days to debate it....apparently that's less than 10 seconds per amendment.

The noises we are hearing are not good. Senior Lib Dems are voicing concern that this is still a back door privatisation. Shirley Williams herself breaking ranks

The future of the government's health reforms has been plunged into fresh doubt as the Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams raises new concerns, and secret emails reveal plans to hand over the running of up to 20 hospitals to overseas companies.

The revelations come as MPs prepare to return to Westminster on Tuesday for what promises to be a crucial stage of the flagship health and social care bill. Baroness Williams, one of the original leaders of a Lib Dem rebellion against health secretary Andrew Lansley's plans – who appeared to have been pacified after changes were made over the summer – said she had new doubts, having re-examined the proposals. "Despite the great efforts made by Nick Clegg and Paul Burstow [the Lib Dem health minister], I still have huge concerns about the bill. The battle is far from over," she said These secret emails are pretty much a smoking gun and should be enough to derail this ridiculous unheralded, unmandated destruction of our much loved health service.

Unison are seizing on this because they prove that the government are lying to us "Regardless of what Cameron and Clegg say in public, it is clear that behind the scenes the government is planning to privatise the NHS. Private companies will only run hospitals if they see a profit in it. This, together with lifting the cap off the number of private patients NHS hospitals can treat, will completely change the culture of the NHS. It will be profits before patients. "We demand that the government come clean on their plans. If this is true, patient choice is a complete sham. The move to any qualified provider is clearly about creating a market for private companies. Any MP who votes for the health and social care bill is voting for the end of the NHS."

The BBC lay out the issues at stake in frightening detail

Despite protecting the NHS budget, the health service is still having to make savings. It has been tasked with finding £20bn over the next four years - that is about 4% a year from its annual budget. The government argues this can be made through making the service more efficient, but the fear is that the NHS will fall back on the easier option of restricting access to care. Reports have emerged of NHS trusts limiting access to some services, such as IVF, while completely stopping funding others.

There are also signs that waiting times may be on the rise. The prime minister recently reiterated his commitment to keeping waiting times for hospital operations to below 18 weeks. In practice, that means nine in 10 patients have to be seen that quickly to reflect the fact there are valid medical and personal reasons why some people wait longer. In a third of areas, this standard is being breached, although nationally it is being kept because other areas are overperforming. With winter just round the corner - when more demands are placed on the health service - the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

So despite the talk the Coalition ARE looking to privatise the NHS and it looks like the only people who can stop it at the Lib Dems...this is their chance however there are reports of Clegg calling a meeting of their MPs and ordering them not to "Rock the boat".

So there you have it, another betrayal. The Tories have no mandate from the people, they expressly promised no top-down reforms of the health service, they promised us a listening exercise....but here we are.

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