Tag Archives: NHS

Norman Lamb writes: Tackling gun and knife crime – hospitals and police working together

nhs sign lrgTrying to make different departments work effectively with each other is a challenge that all Governments face, and this one is no different. It could be all too easy for objectives that fall between two departments to end up falling through the cracks.

That is why I am pleased to report on the efforts we are taking in the Department of Health to roll out the ‘Cardiff model’. This is a very simple measure that can have a dramatic impact on knife crime in an area.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto included …

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Opinion: Where do we now stand regarding mental health provision in the NHS?

nhs sign lrgMany people are clearly still very angry at, what they perceive to be, Liberal Democrats waving through Conservative plans to fragment and privatise the NHS – despite it not being in the Coalition Agreement – and believe that, within that, mental health treatment in the NHS will inevitably suffer.

I do not think that anybody who reads these pages will believe that the party can regain every vote which we have lost because of the NHS Bill.

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Opinion: Mental health provision in the NHS – share your experiences

After having written previous articles about delegate Sarah Yong’s motion on under provision in mental health, my own experiences with mental health, and the recent statements by Ed Miliband regarding Labour’s policy on mental health,  I want to add a final footnote to the series.

It is clear from comments on this website that Liberal

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That NHS spending row in full

The story: Conservative Health secretary Jeremy Hunt ‘rebuked’ for claiming the Coalition has increased NHS spending in England.

The promise: that the NHS budget in England would be increased in real terms during the Coalition. That promise was kept (just) — the 2010 Spending Review committed the Coalition to a 0.1% real-terms annual increase.

The reality: the NHS did not spend all its budget in 2011/12. As a result, the out-turn in NHS spending has, probably, marginally fallen since 2009/10. Though the UK Statistics Authority concludes: “Given …

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Opinion: Can Labour be trusted on mental health?

In my last two articles for Liberal Democrat Voice I wrote about the current under provision in mental health treatment in the country and why it is important that properly addressing mental health is brought into the political mainstream.

Thankfully in recent weeks this has started to happen. Of course there was Ed Miliband’s speech to the Royal College of Psychiatrists in which he spoke of the need for improved provision in mental health treatments across the country. Many people will of course welcome this state of affairs and it is encouraging if Miliband is intending to put improved …

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Labour health policy descends into mess on first day of conference

At a Q&A session, Labour leader Ed Miliband said:

I think what would be not sensible is for us to come along and say, ‘well, Andrew Lansley, now Jeremy Hunt, they’re changing all the arrangements, have these new clinical commissioning groups and so on, and we’re just going to reverse it all back and spend another £3bn on another top-down bureaucratic organisation.

So Labour wouldn’t just reverse all the Health and Social Care Act changes? That would mean quietly forgetting some of the rhetoric about how the passage of the Act would kill the NHS, but it’s easy to see why …

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Opinion: No economic case for regional pay

The clamour against regional pay received renewed vigour yesterday as 25 Liberal Democrat backbenchers endorsed a paper calling for the government to scrap any plans to link public sector pay to private sector earnings across the UK. The paper prepared in the office of John Pugh MP, analyses the evidence submitted to the Treasury and Office of Manpower Economics and concludes that there is no economic case for introducing regional pay.

The government has considered the introduction of regional pay in light of concerns that public sector pay premiums across the UK are ‘crowding-out’ the private sector. However statistics show that the private sector is not struggling to recruit staff, as vacancies in the public sector go unfilled for longer and a survey of business leaders shows that the majority have not struggled to compete with public sector wages.

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David Heath MP writes… Freedom of Information and the NHS risk register – we should publish as much as possible

It was 12 years ago that I sat on my very first House of Commons bill committee, and a pretty important bill it was too. We were considering what was to become the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and I was helping Bob McLennan try to stiffen up what was in danger of becoming, in the hands of the last government, an increasingly flaccid piece of legislation.

After decades of campaigning, the 2000 Act was certainly a longtime in coming for Liberal Democrats. It was Clement Freud who first introduced a Private Members Bill in 1978 that attracted considerable support, …

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Labour’s not-so-very-local election broadcast shows how unimportant local decision-making is to Ed Miliband’s party

Tonight’s Labour local election broadcast, starring telly’s very own Lord (Robert) Winston, climaxes with the rallying cry:

On Thursday May 3rd, vote NHS, vote Labour

Exactly how voting Labour then will help the NHS isn’t explored — not surprisingly, because it won’t. There’s a reason these elections are called local elections, after all.

Before highlighting Labour’s misleading tactics I thought I should first check out the Lib Dem record on fighting local elections. I have to say I was expecting to find comparable examples, times when the party leadership had called …

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What Lib Dem bloggers have been saying about the NHS Bill after Lib Dem conference

Unsurprisingly, there’s been plenty of post-conference reaction to the weekend’s events.

A quick recap of what happened: on Saturday, Lib Dem conference representatives narrowly voted not to debate a motion that called for the NHS Bill to be dropped. Then on Sunday, Lib Dem conference representatives narrowly voted following a debate not to support part of a motion that called for Lib Dem peers to back the NHS Bill.

Here’s how Lib Dem bloggers have responded to these events:

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Round-up of initial reactions to the Lib Dem conference NHS Bill vote

There’s been no shortage of reaction to the vote by the Lib Dem conference this morning to vote by 317-270 to approve an amendment which implicitly calls on the party leadership to drop its support for the NHS Bill.

I say “implicitly” because the motion as passed — pasted at the foot of this post — does not call on Lib Dems to ‘Kill the Bill’. However, conference did vote (albeit narrowly) to remove the call for Lib Dem peers to support the Bill. This follows yesterday’s pre-debate conference vote (again narrowly) to choose not to debate the motion which would …

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Health Bill debate at conference: live blog

Welcome to our live blog. Updates added at the foot.

No, the packed hall isn’t here to see my questions to the reports of the Parliamentary Parties (shocking, I know). It’s people filling up the hall early ahead of the big debate of conference: the NHS.

First up, moving the motion is Judith Jolly: “No one thinks this bill is perfect … but it is a hugely better, safer bill because of Lib Dems”. Shirley Williams is presumably waiting in the wings to make the last speech of the debate. She goes on to detail many of the doors opened to privatisation …

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Lib Dem spring conference: a quick guide to the highlights

The traditional pre-conference rally at Liberal Democrat conferences seems more lively and informal than the main set piece speeches during conference, so expect even more football references than usual from Party President Tim Farron this evening when he speaks in Gateshead.

Nick Clegg’s speech rally speech will feature an attempt to set a different message for the party, looking much more positively to the future:

We’re in Government, and it is a better Government for it. Fairer, freer and greener.

Lower taxes for working people. Fairer chances for our children. And the beginnings of a new, green economy that benefits everyone in

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John Pugh MP writes … TINA and NHS Choices

Mrs Thatcher was reputed to declare in more than one context that There Is No Alternative – earning herself the sobriquet of TINA . In life that is rarely the case and as an avowed existentialist I am disinclined to believe that is ever the case.

The party will be told that there is no practical alternative to the Lansley Bill. That could be true. I have no doubt that the Bill has been substantially changed and improved as a result of the listening exercise and amendment in the Lords.

It is, however, still a massive set of changes to the NHS and a continuation …

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A letter from Andy Burnham to Liberal Democrat members

I never expected to see the day when I could say, hand on heart, that I was more interested in events at a Lib Dem Spring Conference than the weekend’s football. But life’s full of surprises and that moment has arrived.

It is no over-statement to say that this weekend’s gathering in Gateshead could determine the future of our country’s best-loved institution.

As you prepare for the weekend, I wanted to make a direct appeal to the grassroots members of your party: please stand out against the current direction of reform and stand up for the NHS model we all have been …

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What Lib Dem members think about the NHS Bill: 57% opposed, but majority might back it if significantly amended

We’ve been surveying the views of current Lib Dem members this week on your views on the NHS Bill. Over 500 responded, and here’s what you told us…

  • A majority of Lib Dem members – and a majority of Lib Dem members who will be voting delegates at the party’s spring conference at NewcastleGateshead this weekend – oppose the Coalition Government’s NHS reforms as they currently stand. By 57% to 32%, Lib Dem members reject the Health & Social Care Bill.
  • However, that does not automatically mean the Lib Dem conference will vote to ‘Kill the Bill’ if
  • Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

    Opinion: Why the Leader’s letter hardened our Health Bill motion

    For a year a group of Liberal Democrats who know something about the NHS and the delivery of healthcare have been working to modify Lansley’s Health Bill with the aim of preventing irreversible damage to the NHS.

    Until last week our draft motion still offered the hope of amending the Bill. When we saw Nick’s letter we realised that there was no point.

    On preventing competition by price the letter is doubly misleading. David Nicholson warned about this in January 2011 and the Government conceded the point in February. However, even now competition on price has not been completely prevented. Government Peers …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 48 Comments

    Shirley Williams sets the record straight on NHS reform

    It has been suggested by one of our readers that we give a higher profile to a speech made in the House of Lords on Tuesday, especially in light of the ongoing debate on these pages. And so, without further ado…

    Baroness Williams of Crosby

    I want to say a word about competition, and it is appropriate to do so given that the noble Lord, Lord Warner, has just been speaking. He has always spoken with some courage on this issue, which I recognise is not exactly popular with his party. However, I say quite directly that I feel very strongly that …

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    Lord Clement-Jones writes… Limiting competition in the NHS

    This week Liberal Democrat peers achieved yet more success in limiting the application of competition in the National Health Service. Our party members believe, and our conference policy passed last spring affirms, that while competition can play a role in improving the quality of health, it should never be given higher priority than the interests of patients. And I completely agree.

    Competition Commission

    I was concerned that the Competition Commission should not be reviewing how effectively competition is working in the health service. In the private sector, the Competition Commission plays a crucial role in ensuring that companies compete fairly, and prevents …

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    Opinion: Save the NHS Bill

    I must admit I’ve been wondering a little at being so contrarian.

    My mobile phone address book and filofax (yes, I’m a certain age) is full of people who say they are too busy to talk to me this week because they are working hard to kill the NHS Bill.

    I am not. What’s the matter with me?  I’m going the right way to being thrown out of the lunatic fringe.

    So please, if you read this blog. Have a heart. Tell me where I’m going wrong.

    Here’s my problem. I cannot see why we should be striving to maintain the NHS exactly as …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

    The Independent View: Do us all a favour and drop the NHS Bill

    About 2 weeks ago, Shirley Williams rightly claimed that the whole competition chapter of the Bill would need to be removed before it could be passed. However, the amendments that Nick Clegg has proposed, as indicated in his letter of 28th February, just do not match up to her reasonable demand. The competition chapter contains clauses 70 to 81. The Clegg amendments only affect clauses 78, 79 and 80. So, clauses 70 to 77 remain unchanged. Hence, a lot of the Lansley ‘nasties’ remain and if the Bill is passed, these ‘nasties’ will become law of our land.

    Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 40 Comments

    Opinion: Lib Dems should support the NHS reforms to secure its long-term future

    Listen to the Labour spin, the media furore, or the special interests in the healthcare unions, and you’d think that the Health and Social Care Bill had been crafted by the evil Tories and naive Lib Dems to maliciously snatch all hope of critically needed health and hospital care from the poor and vulnerable, dooming great swathes of the population to lives of miserable illness and suffering, all to help the ‘rich and profiteering’ private healthcare companies milk every last penny and drop of human decency out of society.

    Left leaning voters are angry – indeed opinion polls show that a

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 126 Comments

    NHS bill: Nick Clegg outlines changes aimed at Lib Dems

    BBC News reports:

    Nick Clegg has set out changes to the NHS reforms which he says should mean the bill can be passed into law.

    In a letter co-signed by Lib Dem peer Baroness Williams, the deputy prime minister sets out amendments he wants to see which would limit competition and the role of the private sector.

    Downing Street said they were “not significant amendments – they are areas where reassurance is required”.

    …Mr Clegg said he supported five “final” changes to the bill which aims to give GPs control of much of the NHS budget and would open up the health service

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 40 Comments

    Opinion: Where was Nick Clegg’s summit on the NHS?

    Much of the recent column space on Health issues has been filled with criticism or scepticism of the summit that David Cameron held in Downing Street, and more specifically Andrew Lansley’s Health & Social Care Bill.

    The sceptics say that Cameron only invited ‘Yes people’ – people who would confirm his own world view of NHS reform, and who would be nice about Mr Lansley.

    As usual, I ain’t bovvered about the Conservatives and what they do to attract media criticism. The more the better as far as I am concerned. What concerns me is what the Liberal Democrat leadership has been …

    Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

    Baroness Barker writes… How the private patient income cap can benefit the NHS

    Labour’s 2006 NHS Act deliberately opened up health services, including acute hospitals, to wide-ranging competition on price, not quality. Labour’s legislation allowed private companies to receive £250m for contracts which they never delivered. Liberal Democrat peers are working hard to ensure that the NHS, including Foundation Trusts (FTs), remain public services.

    Indeed, in order to protect them from the full force of competition law and the threat of takeover by American healthcare companies, hospitals must not be deemed ‘undertakings’ or look more like private sector bodies. One way to achieve that is to make it explicit in law that the majority …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments

    LDVideo: Lib Dem MP Andrew George calls for NHS risk register publication

    Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George voted on Wednesday to publish the NHS “risk register”, a document containing a detailed analysis of what could go wrong with the proposed changes in the health service in England. Here he explains why, and that though the Health Bill is now “less bad” he is yet to be persuaded it should go through:

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    Lord Clement-Jones writes… Plugging the loopholes left by Labour

    Widespread competition was introduced to the NHS by Labour’s 2006 National Health Service Act, but without the public debate that is now taking place. The 2006 Act opened up the NHS to the risk of EU competition law being applied in a way that leaves commissioners unable to choose the best way of delivering services. Labour’s legislation meant private providers were favoured over NHS hospitals and paid millions for work which they never did. Very simply, Labour’s 2006 Act does not put patients first.

    In the Lords, myself and colleagues are working hard to plug the loopholes left in Labour’s 2006 …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

    LibLink: Mark Pack – Where next for the Lib Dems on NHS reform?

    Over on the MHP Communications blog, Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack has been pondering what will happen next on NHS reform:

    It is becoming a fixture on the political calendar, that as spring approaches so too does another Liberal Democrat conference debate on health.  Cue headaches for Liberal Democrat party managers and nervousness among Conservatives.  What will the Liberal Democrat grassroots demand? How much will Cameron and Lansley be prepared to concede in response?…

    At the moment, there are three different options for changes to the NHS Bill which different Liberal Democrats are pushing (I’ve yet to encountered anyone in the party

    Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

    Opinion: Liberal Democrat, not Yes Minister, values must prevail on Risk Register

    Back in 2010 we campaigned on a vision of open government and “new politics”. The debacle over the NHS Strategic Risk Register shows how far we have strayed from this policy objective and also how hit and miss the Coalition’s political management has become.

    The Risk Register issue is just one in a very long line of political blunders in the life of the Health and Social Care Bill. This time the Government is still trying to oppose public opinion, the Information Commissioner and now a Labour motion in the Commons, causing far more political upheaval than necessary. Whatever the actual …

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    80% of Lib Dem voters want Lansley’s risk register published

    Liberal Democrat voters are most keen to want the Government to publish the Department of Health Risk Register. A new YouGov poll commissioned by Progressive Polling and Unite shows that two thirds of voters (68%) believe the Government should honour the ruling of the Information Commissioner.

    Liberal Democrat voters are the most keen to see this act of transparency, with 80% backing such a move. 73% of Labour supporters want to see its publication as do 62% of Conservative voters. All ages, social grades and regions support its release.

    The Information Commissioner’s ruling in November for publication was followed by remarks …

    Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 12 Comments



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