Nov 112011

This is what Cameron said yesterday (background here and here):

“I want to know how we drive the NHS to be a fantastic business …”

No.  Don’t look away.  I know you’d prefer to.  But don’t.  Stick around and watch him say it.  Watch it several times.  On a day like today, you really cannot afford not to remember …

Meanwhile, as Cameron claims there are no risks to such a misadventure, we get this story from the Standard this afternoon:

Andrew Lansley was today ordered to release a secret report on the risks he is taking with his NHS reforms.

The Evening Standard has won a landmark legal victory forcing the Health Secretary to hand over the document which his department had sought to keep under wraps for nearly a year.

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham found that the Department of Health twice breached the freedom of information law in failing to disclose its strategic risk register.

The document is expected to reveal the risks to patient safety, finances and the very workings of the NHS from the unprecedented reshaping of the health service.

Read it in full.  It’ll also make you want to weep.

Finally, the Mirror reports earlier today that:

MINISTERS sparked outrage yesterday by handing an NHS hospital over to a private healthcare company with strong Tory links.

Circle Health will start running the hospital early next year under the landmark 10-year deal worth £1billion.

Medics say the move has set a worrying precedent, while unions think it amounts to privatisation and could lead to millions of patients and staff being put at risk.

Circle is backed by two City hedge funds run by Crispin Odey and Paul Ruddock, who have donated £790,000 to the Tories.

And the company employs former Conservative Party health spokesman Mark Simmonds as well as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s ex-aide Christina Lineen.

No way is that in the spirit of armistice, Mr Cameron. 

In fact, if we’re being at all objective, all we can really conclude is that it constitutes total war on all possible fronts.


  4 Responses to “A day of armistice then – or total war on all possible fronts, Mr Cameron?”

  1. """"""""NHS hospital takeover by private firm sparks fury as £1billion goes to Tory fatcats"""""""

    I watched Cameron just to test my stomach.

    I am entirely shocked at the silence of Miliband et al on the privatisation of ALL public services and of course the NHS.

    It could be argued that PFIs started off the process and maybe that's why Labour is silent.

    Are people getting dumber? Don't they see what's happening?

    I thank good sense that the SNP can slow down the process in Scotland but ultimately the Tories will get the hump and take action to do to Scotland what they are doing in England.

    An important point. Privitising the NHS will make public health more expensive – every privatisation measure has had that effect.

    The rich and prosperous have nothing to worry about – the rich and prosperous never do. The less well off will now get a more and more limited health service and have to end up paying for treatment that should be free.

    I hope England kicks them out on their buttocks next G.E. but would Labour reverse the policies? They never have in the past.

  2. I've already reported on naughty things which are beginning to take place in relation to health services here in Chester:

    And previously here:

    Big money behind all of this. And a fast and loose relationship with data, too.

    I, too, worry if Labour will ever recapture its social democratic legacy …

  3. Yes, it is all worrying. But it is nothing new. The first NHS hospital to be handed over to the private sector was Good Hope in Birmingham in 2003. It was a failure. The contract there was for three years (THREE, not the TEN that Circle have) and it was terminated early because the management company, Tribal, showed that they were incapable of running a hospital.

    There is no reason to think that Circle will be any better since they have only run a small private hospital (28 beds, verses Hinchingbrooke's 254) or treatment centres for elective treatments. They have never done the difficult stuff, which is to run a hospital with an A&E department. Also, Tribal was running a time when there were real terms annual increases in NHS funding of 5%, Circle will be running a hospital when there are real terms increases of 0%. The chances of Circle succeeding are close to zero.

    But note the date of the first NHS hospital to be handed over to the private sector: 2003. Yes, this is a Labour idea. The minister with the dirty hands was Ben Bradshaw (remember his name the next time that Labour whines about Hinchingbrooke, if he comments on Circle, should HYPOCRITE!).

    The process to hand Hinchingbrooke over to a private company was started in 2009, the last NHS bidder pulled out in early 2010. From that point onwards it was obvious that Circle would get the contract (they have the reckless confidence that they think they can do anything, and they seem to have convinced the media and politicians of all shades that they are a "social enterprise" which they are emphatically not). The last Labour government could easily have stopped the process, but they didn't. Why?

    If you, or any of your readers, have any connections with Labour make sure that you pressure then to move away from the Blairite NHS marketisation plan. The NHS could give Labour a landslide at the next election, but only if they drop their current NHS policies, which are not much different to Lansley's (in fact, you could argue that Lansley stole his plans from Labour).

  4. Hi RB – I suspect as with many of these things, the Coalition – hardly blessed with the brightest of souls – is only able to wreak so much havoc precisely because they *are* building on firmly Blairite foundations.

    I *am* a member of the Labour Party, but long-term disenchanted with much of what it does from a philosophical and structural point of view. I have absolutely no influence with anyone who is in charge – and can but only continue to bear witness on these pages to what I perceive.

    You, however, are influencing many people. You deserve a medal for all that you are doing.

    Please continue.

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