Tag Archives: NHS

The Independent View: Could Ireland’s emerging healthcare reforms test David Laws’ NHIS vision?

Nearly a decade ago now, David Laws MP raised the idea of evolving the NHS into a continental-style universal ‘National Health Insurance Scheme’ (NHIS), where healthcare would be progressively funded from dedicated income contributions, individuals could choose insurers and everyone would be entitled to a comprehensive package of set treatments within a decentralised but heavily regulated system. It was a bold and interesting proposal, which for better or worse helped define the 2004 Orange Book in eyes of many, though it has perhaps also been misunderstood and straw-manned to a degree.

However, besides substantive criticisms and the understandable sensitivities that talk …

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Norman Lamb writes… How Liberal Democrats are promoting safety and openness in the NHS

nhs sign lrgAs a Liberal Democrat, my priority for the NHS is simple. I want patients to have the best possible care. When people are ill and vulnerable, they deserve safe and compassionate care provided by doctors and nurses with the best possible training and medical expertise. And people need to know that, when mistakes are made, doctors will be open with them – and that lessons will be learnt.

What happened at Mid Staffs Hospital was a shocking scandal. The stories of neglect sent shock waves across the country. This Government …

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Norman Lamb writes … The start of a revolution in joined-up care

Back in May, I wrote on Lib Dem Voice, about the launch of a programme of “Integration Pioneers” to drive forward the revolution in joined-up care that is desperately needed across the NHS and social care.

On Friday, I announced the final outcome of a rigorous process to select the very best leaders in integrated care. A panel of experts, including some of the global leaders in integrated care, scrutinised the bids. Now, 14 Pioneers spread across England covering rural and urban areas will lead a movement of change joining up a horribly fragmented system which too often let’s …

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Opinion: Clinical Commissioning Groups – don’t hold your breath

nhs sign lrgWe are now 6 months into the much touted reorganisation of the health service, with the advent in April this year of Clinical Commissioning Groups to replace Primary Care Trusts, the only real difference being that GPs run the Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The reorganisation did ensure a reduction in cost by the simple expedient of setting Clinical Commissioning Group administrative budgets one third below historic  Primary Care Trust administrative cost, yielding a Clinical Commissioning Group admin cost of £25/head of population. There are 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups. The adjusted population figure is 53.8m, and so total Clinical Commissioning Group admin spend is £1.345bn. Clinical Commissioning Groups are administering a total health budget of £60bn, averaging £284m per Group. Clinical Commissioning Group admin costs are therefore 2.24% of total health service expenditure.

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Norman Lamb writes: A huge leap forwards in delivering personal health budgets

nhs sign lrgAt the heart of the Liberal vision of a fairer society is the belief that people should be in control of their lives – the belief that the state does not always know best.  For decades in the NHS and the social care sector, we have had a situation where the government will spend tens of thousands of pounds a year providing care for an individual, but giving that individual little or no control over the design and commissioning of their package of care.  We need to achieve a …

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Norman Lamb MP writes…The Better Care promise – driving up standards of care across our NHS

It is clear that no single institution has done more to improve people’s lives than the NHS, and its generosity and expertise is something of which we are rightly proud. Yet events which have come to light, such as the abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View or the grave neglect of patients at Stafford Hospital, have highlighted serious problems within our health service.

This week in particular we have seen the publication of two key independent reviews on NHS care, both of which highlight areas in need of urgent improvement. The outcome of the review by Baroness Neuberger …

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Norman Lamb MP writes…Tackling Mental Health stigma and discrimination: the NHS 65 years on

65 years ago today, the foundations of our modern National Health Service were laid based on the recommendations of a Liberal, William Beveridge. The founding principle that our NHS should always be free at the point of use endures today. The NHS now treats around a million people every 36 hours, with 300 million GP appointments each year. It is a national institution of which we are rightly proud.

However, the National Health Service is far from perfect. Significant changes are needed to cope with the challenges faced by the fact that people are living longer, and are living with an …

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Norman Lamb MP writes: Ensuring transparency and accountability in the Health Service

In recent months we have seen some shocking examples of failures of care within the health service. Tragic events such as those which occurred at the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital and the Winterbourne View Hospital have demonstrated a desperate need to ensure that people are held to account when awful things happen across the NHS and care services.

It is clear that we need to restore trust in health and care services. When a serious failing occurs it is simply unacceptable for patients and their families to be left in the dark or to feel that those responsible have not had to face …

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Opinion: Should we offer to pay university fees for doctors who commit to NHS?

The dire need in the NHS for qualified high level medical staff could be given a much needed boost by offering medical students free university fees if they commit themselves to working solely for the NHS for a number of years after qualifying as a junior doctor.

Even as they progress through the NHS as junior doctors they are still being taught and trained in NHS hospitals by senior doctors, surgeons, anaesthetists and registrars. Some then go on to be the elite in the world of medicine, being in demand to do heart and liver transplants, neuro-surgery, plastic surgery etc – …

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Farron on alleged CQC Morecambe Bay NHS Trust cover-up: “Justice must now take its course”

Tim FarronHere’s the question Tim Farron — in whose Cumbrian constituency Morecambe Bay NHS Trust falls — asked of Health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday, after it was reported that senior staff at the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), sought to cover-up a critical review of their conduct following a series of baby deaths at Furness General Hospital:

Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) (LD): My constituents can be forgiven for wondering whether, when the watchdog chooses to muzzle itself, it is time to put it to sleep. The report shows that

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Opinion: Some thoughts on the NHS from a recent patient

I’ve just spent 3 weeks on a trauma ward in a northern hospital after a nasty accident, and coming from an industrial background, here are some thoughts on the NHS and a Lib Dem approach.

First and most importantly, hospitals are large, high tech and high skill businesses. They are continually investing in equipment, and the best hospitals will have motivated doctors, nurses and managers who take ownership of their jobs and are part of the process to continually improve the clinical excellence and effectiveness of the hospital. Hospitals share many of the challenges of excellence with manufacturing businesses.

What are the …

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Norman Lamb MP writes… Integrating Care – Joined up thinking in the NHS

Many of you will have seen last week the headlines following comments by David Prior, the Chairman of the CQC, about the unsustainable pressure on Accident and Emergency wards in the UK. The truth is that patients are getting excellent care in A&E departments up and down the country. The NHS is coping well with the increase in demand. But there is no denying that there has been a big increase in demand on our emergency services. There is no easy fix to this situation, especially at a time when the NHS needs to make limited resources go further. But …

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Opinion: Why Greg Mulholland MP is wrong to criticise the NHS Medical Director

When I heard yesterday that the local MP had called for the NHS Medical Director to resign following his decision to suspend all paediatric heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary I dismissed it as predictable populist rabble rousing in search of a good local headline. On realising it was our own Greg Mulholland I felt angry and ashamed. How could one of our MPs have got this so wrong? Or as Stephen Thornton, the Chief Executive of the Health Foundation put it last night, “How low will local MPs stoop? Why does ‘local’ always trump quality in their eyes”. Quite.

In …

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Norman Lamb, Newsnight and Jeremy Paxman’s bedpan

Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb wrote about the Government’s response to the Francis Report for this site yesterday. Later he was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. Paxman started by asking how long it would take before the NHS is fit for purpose.

Norman replied:

We have to recognise that a lot of fantastic work goes on in the NHS

Most people who work in health and care do so because they want to care for people

We shouldn’t denigrate NHS because of what’s happened in this one report, but anyone who cares passionately about the NHS has to face up the

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Norman Lamb writes … Culture change – the foundations

How do you change the culture of an organisation – particularly one as large as the NHS? That was one of the key questions posed by the Francis Inquiry into the appalling failings at Mid Staffordshire Hospital. Today we set out part of the answer.

The overriding message of the Francis report was the need for a culture change across the NHS to make sure that patients always come first. That change will take time, leadership, and engagement from staff. But the measures announced today set the tone, and signal what I hope will be the start of a transformation. They …

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On Budget day: What Lib Dem members think of the Coalition’s economic policy and ring-fencing of spending

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012

Just 26% of Lib Dem members support Osborne’s ‘Plan A’

Thinking of the current state of the economy and the Coalition’s approach, which of the following statements is closest to your own view?

    20% – Cutting the deficit isn’t enough: alongside public spending cuts, the Coalition should be

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Opinion: People don’t care who provides their healthcare

nhs sign lrgThe publication of a new poll by ICM for Civitas on the NHS should give encouragement to those in the Lib Dems who believe that we should not be bound by a single provider approach to the NHS.  The poll shows that people are proud of the NHS but not concerned by who provides their healthcare.

The key question is:

“It shouldn’t matter whether hospitals or surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector, provided that everyone including the least well-off has access to care”.

83% o agreed with …

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The Independent View: The case for ending unfair, out of date prescription charges for people with long term conditions

We are now just over two years away from the next general election and political parties are starting to develop their manifestos.

In this age of austerity, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s team has already identified “alarm clock Britain” as a key demographic in need of help – these are the basic rate taxpayers who get up early, take their children to school and then go to work only to find their living standards squeezed by current economic circumstances. If Liberal Democrats are indeed committed to helping this section of the population, they need look no further than delivering reform on …

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Opinion: Where is evidence based decision making about the NHS?

One of the great things about growing old is that life becomes much simpler. Those raging passions of youth give way, very gradually, to an acceptance that, in the grand scheme of things, we are pretty insignificant. Imagine my surprise when I found my blood pressure rising and my normally equitable mood being replaced by a growing sense of outrage. What exceptional event caused this? Well, it was the  Health and Social Care Act, 2012.

I am not sentimental about the NHS, or any other public body for that matter, and believe that we should constantly be trying to improve our …

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Opinion: Our NHS – the good, the bad and the ugly

nhs sign lrgIt is a week since Robert Francis’s report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust exposed massive failures in the NHS, from top to bottom.

The silence from the political left is deafening. Of course there has been the usual horror and condemnation, and calls for heads to roll. But this wasn’t just a case of lax professional standards, which can be sorted out with a bit of culture training, it was complete system failure from cleaner up to Prime Minister.

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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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  • User AvatarPhilip Thomas 5th Mar - 7:58pm
    I think he means "some Liberal Democrats"... I dunno, maybe I'm one of them. I can think of reasons why people look on us with...
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    Simon McGrath 5th Mar '15 - 4:44pm Simon, if you believe what you say in your comment - the logical conclusion would be for you...