In other news…

On the NHS:

Liberal Democrats may win a key concession on the controversial Health and Social Bill before the legislation is passed, PoliticsHome has learned.

Sources have indicated that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, including key rebel Baroness Williams, have struck a deal which would allow Lib Dem peers currently opposed to the legislation to secure changes to the role of the Health Secretary. They are currently concerned that the Bill will mean the Secretary of State is not responsible for ensuring that patients across the country receive the same services and standards of care.

PoliticsHome understands that the responsibility of the Health Secretary to ensure the provision of health services could be re-written so that it allays fears that he could “wash his hands” of the NHS. (Politics Home)

From Liverpool Liberal Democrats:

City Lib-Dems’ leader Cllr Paula Keaveney has proposed that Liverpool should aim to become the “European Green Capital”, as a platform from which to begin their electoral revival.

In addition, though, rather than merely adopting this latest suggestion, the party has instead opened a consultation process with the city, in the hope residents’ views can help them shape the future direction of their policies – and their ambitious “Green” agenda. (Liverpool Daily Post)

And Mike Hancock:

A Liberal Democrat MP whose former aide is accused by MI5 of spying for Russia has resigned from the Commons defence committee.

Mike Hancock, the MP for Portsmouth South, said he hoped to rejoin the committee after the deportation hearing involving Katia Zatuliveter, with whom he had a four-year affair, was over.

“I would like to make clear that at no time did I pass on material to Ms Zatuliveter which was not in the public domain or which was classified,” Hancock told the Lib Dem chief whip, Alistair Carmichael. (The Guardian)

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  • why dont you have some self respect and vote the whole sorry bill down being in a coalition doesnt mean you have to part privatise the NHS

  • Dan Falchikov is exactly right. Those Lib Dems who believe in liberalism and localism should see that the writing is on the wall: the statist wing of the party is back on top and there’s no future for you in the party any more.

  • Daniel Henry 20th Oct '11 - 11:24am

    @ Dan
    They’re not demanding the Health Secretary run the service – that would be very statist like you say.

    The idea of the Health Secretary keeping responsibility is that they are required to address problems with the system rather than wash their hands of it when things go wrong.

    It’s still localist. Local authorities and health and wellbeing boards will still make the decisions.

  • George W. Potter,

    I have and I find it stunning that anyone could argue that it will not result in a part privatised system, and ultimately, in the NHS being nothing more than a safety net of basic services for the poor in amongst a private insurance based system for the rest.

    This bill intends to establish that foundation trusts will be run as self supporting individual businesses. That the ownership of these trusts is irrelevant. That these trusts will be allowed to fail if financially unviable. If they fail they will be open to takeover by other trusts or private corporations or simply to close. That their income will be dependent upon the amount of private work they can attract. That private businesses will determine where and how the funding for health care is distributed. What part of that do you consider not to be privatisation?

    The incentive structure put in place by this bill is to push individuals into private insurance and to push hospitals into dependence upon private patients. We can see the same structure in action if we look at our dental care provision. Would anybody describe that system as a universal health care system free at the point of delivery offering equal treatment based on clinical need rather than the means to pay?

    There is no need for there to be a bill other than to remove the government responsibility to ensure the provision of health care for each person in need and to lift the cap that presently limits the amount of private work that NHS hospitals are able to take. The reason for doing these things is to create an incentive structure that will lead to what most of us understand as a privatised system even though pedants could still argue that some elements are state owned therefore it has not been ‘privatised’.

    If you believe this is what should happen to the NHS then just say so. If you don’t then argue your case as to why a clearly privatising agenda is somehow not a clearly privatising agenda. If you do not want the americanised insurance based system that will ultimately be the result of these changes then it might be better to actually oppose them rather than simply asserting that the reality of them is a figment of the Labour parties imagination. If you look closely enough you might have noticed that there are also some in the Labour party who think that the NHS is unaffordable and should be limited in those to whom it offers service. This is not a party political issue but for some reason it seems that very many on these pages wish to stifle debate (with ad hominem accusations of “Labour party drones”), and spread falsehoods that this is a benign bill that will only improve the NHS. Up until the general election the NHS was performing increasingly well, was performing at the highest level it ever had, in the most responsive ways to its patients that it ever had and was on course to outstrip its competitors performance on most health indicators within the next five years. All of that for less money than any other system of health service. Given all of this then what could be the possible motivation for reform?

  • Tony Greaves 20th Oct '11 - 10:26pm

    The system is already part privatised following the Labour years. The changes that the Bill would make (in its present form) may make further privatisation more likely (some parts may make it less likely). The structure proposed by the Bill may make further much more drastic changes easier to achieve in future changes but it doesn’t do that in itself.

    HoL scrutiny starts on Tuesday with the stuff at the top of the Bill about the S of State’s powers.

    Tony Greaves

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