52% think the NHS bill should be dropped

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

A report from the Guardian this morning has shown the true extent of opposition against the NHS bill. Tom Clark reports that:

Labour is one point ahead, on 37%, with Ed Miliband’s party up from 35% last month. The Liberal Democrats slip back two to stand at 14%, and the combined total of the smaller parties has climbed by four points, to 13%.

An outright majority of respondents, 52%, say that the bill – which would overhaul NHS management, increase competition and give family doctors more financial responsibility – should be dropped. That is against 33% who believe it is better to stick with the plans at this stage.

Only the very youngest respondents aged 18 to 24, the least likely to vote, favour sticking with the plans, by 46% to 39%. Opposition hardens with age, and is at its most marked among the over-65s – who favour dropping the bill by a 56% to 29% margin. A third of Conservatives(31%) and a significant majority of Lib Dem voters (57%) also want the proposed law to be ditched.”

The government has over a month to withstand this tirade, and they’re looking increasingly marginalised. The Lib Dems need to put some serious pressure on them by speaking out in public, as Simon Hughes has done. What is more their peers in the House of Lords should scrutinise this bill all the more finely because of this opposition. This could serve to draw the process out for as long as possible.

Who Supports these NHS reforms?

February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments


Over at whosupportsnhsreforms.org.uk they have made a very pleasing visualisation depicting the true weight of public, private and political opinion against the NHS reforms. I thought I’d take this opportunity to feature their site. Enjoy…

Read more at:

Clegg backs broken reforms – The ICB

The Financial Times joins growing consensus against NHS reforms – The ICB

The complete list of organisations against the Government’s NHS bill – The ICB

Clegg backs broken NHS reforms

February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

As peers today debate around 25 amendments to the government’s controversial Health and Socialcare bill, Nick Clegg has shown his support saying that Andrew Lansley has is passionate about the NHS.

Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, told the BBC today that:

“Andrew Lansley is the architect of the NHS bill. He cares passionately about the NHS. He’s the right man for the job and he must see it through.”

This comes at a time when back bench Lib Dems are pressuring Clegg to speak out against the bill because of the controversial competition it would bring to the NHS.

Yesterday Simon Hughes, the president of the Lib Dems, said that Lansley had to go. Whilst Labour are taking every opportunity to attack the government on this bill.

David Cameron seems hell bent on forcing his reforms through parliament. In a move that is reminiscent of Tony Blair, he seems to be ignoring all opposition cries, and seems committed to the idea and even a bad reform bill is better than none.

What effect this will have on the Tores is not yet clear, but as they think about the next general election it is certain that the looming crisis in the NHS will enevitably be used by Labour as ‘proof’ that the Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS.

This bill could well become this generation’s poll tax, a fundamentally flawed idea which the government pursues with such tenacity that they blind themselves to the opinions of the voters.

However, after Cameron’s semi u-turn on Europe the PM getting quite a reputation for last minute cold feet. Especially when he thinks the public is against him, take bonuses for example. Perhaps he is pushing his broken bill through in an attempt to save face and restore the confidence of his back benchers.

He needs to do something to show the government won’t turn tail and run at the first sign of opposition.

The Financial Times joins growing consensus against NHS reform

February 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

Continuing the ICBs coverage of organisations against the NHS reform bill, the Financial Times has announced it is now against the bill. The FT is the latest in a long list of societies, groups, companies and individuals who are calling for the Government to drop the bill.

Though pro-reform the FT believes that:

“Dropping the bill and pursuing change without omnibus legislation looks on balance the better bet.”

FT seems to agree with the growing consensus that the government has got its priorities wrong over the bill, saying that the bill is a “mess”.

Any reform has to balance top down management, competition, and the self-determination of doctors and nurses. The FT appears to believe that the current bill is too heavily waited towards top-down management, saying that David Cameron has failed to live up to his manifesto pledge not to impose top-down reorganisation on the NHS.

The FT also notes that the bill has destroyed Andrew Lansley’s reputation, noting that:

“Mr Lansley’s position would be weakened – perhaps fatally.”

This is something that the ICB talked about here.

For further coverage of the NHS reform bill subscribe to the ICB’s RSS feed.

Many thanks to Left Foot Forward for their excellent coverage of this story.

See also:

Why Andrew Lansley is a convenient scapegoat for any future problems in the NHS

February 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Conservatives are faltering over their NHS reform. The much amended bill has Tories are breaking ranks.

The problem is that the NHS is a beast that needs a 2% increase in funds year-on-year in order to keep it running. Andrew Lansley was faced with dealing a 4% cut to the service so whatever path Lansley took was going to be controversial.

The Bill has to make it into law by March the 28th or the Tories could be in real trouble. If the bill is still being debated, would-be-Conservative councillors will face some tough questions on the doorstep.

Lansley’s bill was about ‘promoting competition’. Whether or not this has been watered down by the amendment process remains to be seen. However, it is still the case that American or European companies will bid for profitable parts of the NHS. It is exactly this competition that the Lords have reservations about.

What does this mean for Lansley then? Lansley been positioned as the linchpin of this bill and it will almost certainly be the end of him. If the bill doesn’t quite make it into law, an unlikely scenario I’ll agree, he’ll take the blame. If, on the other hand, it does, it will leave him exposed to any amount of criticism from Labour come the next general election. Any future funding problems, longer waiting lists, or tabloid horror stories will inevitably be jumped upon by the opposition and used as evidence against Lansley and the Tories’ maltreatment of the NHS.

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