|Cuts are Ideologically Driven|
NHS managers have been accused by commissioners of setting misleading criteria for selecting consortia for the pathfinder programme, the accusations came after many of their bids were turned down in favour of less stable and less financially secure applicants.
If this is the case, then the public has a right to demand answers from the Government, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and the Government's commissioning tsar Dame Barbara Hakin.
Hakin has said that she thinks too much has been made about the criteria for the selection of the first pathfinders and in any case, those pathfinders were apparently selected to be part of a 'learning network'. At the same time she announced that she expects to see many more pathfinders being announced in January, who will then start to go live in February, March or April.
Dame Barbara says she acknowledges the BMA's concerns about key concepts of the white paper, especially the "any willing provider policy", but just like this Tory government is sticking her head in the sand and totally ignoring growing concerns in all areas, that too much, is being done too soon, and without proper consultation.
The Government has turned its back on the preferred provider policy it inherited and has replaced it with the "any willing provider" models instead. This completely undone what the previous health secretary, Andy Burnham, announced when he moved to make the NHS the ‘preferred provider’.
Under any willing provider, several approved providers can offer a service to patients at the same time but have no guarantee of numbers they will treat.
In a nutshell GP Commissioners will be able to advertise on a service specific basis for willing providers of services as they are to be procured. These will of course mainly be in the private sector and will turn GPs into accountants and sales people. *When will they have time to do any doctoring*?
Proper answers must be given about the what criteria was used to select the original 52 pathfinders and why that particular criteria was used.
Legitimate dissent and opposition to the Government's plans for the radical reform of the health service, reform which has never been seen before in its 62 year history, is being stifled, concerns glossed over with a wave of the hand.
Growing concerns over patient safety, patient care, and staffing levels and staff pay and conditions must be answered and satisfactory reassurances and detailed explanations given.
While in opposition the prime minister, David Cameron, repeatedly promised that there would be no top down reorganisation of the NHS, and that the NHS was "safe in his hands", this was a blatant lie. Cameron looked the nation in the eyes and lied to their faces about his plans for the NHS.
Plans like this for the NHS could not possible have been drawn up in the six weeks between Cameron and the Tories assuming office producing the coalition paper, and Andrew Lansley announcing them in his white paper.
If Cameron had spoken of the Tory plans for the NHS both before and during his election campaign, it is very doubtful he would have won the number of seats his party secured at the 2010 general election.
More, Nick Clegg and negotiators of the coalition agreement, David Laws, Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and Chris Huhne categorically *MUST* have been aware of the Tory plans for the NHS when they agreed the coalition agreement, which makes them liars and deceivers too.
Conservative government plans are not concerned about patient care, and safety, their concerns are twofold, saving as much money as possible for George Osborne's "mega rich people's awards" war chest, while they pave the way for the wholesale sell off of the NHS.
The Conservatives, David Cameron, George Osborne, "Nick Clegg" and Andrew Lansley are actually presiding over the greatest con in the political history of this country, privatising the NHS under the noses of the people without them realising (until it is too late) what is happening.
Dame Barbara's and Andrew Lansley's insistence that their plans have been overwhelmingly received as "positive" are just more fabrication and lies, how can we have trust and confidence in Dame Barbara, the Conservative Government, and health secretary Andrew Lansley, when we read about BMA chiefs who launched a double-pronged attack on the Government's plans last week, with BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum accusing health secretary Andrew Lansley of 'charging forward' with his plans? And GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, warning GPs had been left 'extremely disappointed' by the Government's failure to listen to their concerns? The Government is trying to sweep this dissent under the carpet.
If such doctors are saying this in public, what on earth are they saying in private? Surely we, the public, have a right to know? These are the very people that are supposed to be entrusted with our welfare and our safety. If the likes of Dr Hamish Meldrum and Dr Laurence Buckman know things the public do not, it is their absolute duty to speak out now, loud and clear in an unambiguous fashion. The public should not be left in any doubt about what they are saying. These doctors first line of duty is not to the "Lord of the Flies" type Government, their duty is to us, the general public.
This is *OUR* NHS, it does not belong to Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Lansley and Hakin and these people were *NOT* given a mandate to carry out such radical reforms, especially at a time when the Government is carrying out other radical reforms in welfare, education, and the police, not to mention the unprecedented risk and gamble this inexperienced government is taking with the British economy.
This is not only an appalling abuse of power by the shambolic Conservative government, it is an appalling break of trust, wrapped up in wall to wall bare faced lies.
Doctors, Dame Barbara, and others in the know about the true extent of the Conservative Government's plans for the health service, cannot and must not, stay quiet about the Government's obvious haste to introduce the Tory competition agenda and private healthcare companies into the NHS and reassurances are beginning to sound false and hollow. it is not rocket science to understand that the Government's competition agenda would prevent "constructive co-operation between GPs and hospital doctors". What are we going to have in the NHS, bidding wars etc? While we all stand helplessly around watching while patient care, treatment and safety is heavily compromised? Have some forgotten what happened when hospital cleaning was put out to tender? The lowest bids winning and the result was filthy hospitals, filthy wards, filthy departments and the resurgence of MRSA and C Diff etc which at that time had all but been eradicated from hospitals? This is yet another example of an ill-thought out policy, short term gains to save money at the expense of long term failure in treatment and patient and staff confidence and satisfaction rates.
Dame Barbara is falling for the "psycho-babble clap trap of the Tory "Cost Cutters", patients may want "choice", but ask them to place choice in a list of clean, modern and efficiently run hospitals, offering excellent standard of care uniformly across the UK and good available GP services with good practice and see where it falls. Why would someone "choose" to travel to the other side of the country for something they should be able to find in their own locality?
Dame Barbara appears to be condoning the introduction of some sort of "Big Society" into the provision of health care, this is taking the "voluntary/involuntary groups" just a little too far! Yes of course all clinical professionals and GPs should be working together, where is there argument against that? Where has there ever been argument against that? What we have now is a government and a government tsar insistent on introducing psycho-babble and buzz-words and calling it "patient pathway".
However, what is really c becoming apparent with each passing day is that this government is not really interested in improving patient care, patient choices or whatever, all it is interested in is saving money while they get rid of the NHS by selling it off to the private sector, and Dame Barbara and this government can go on about choices and improving the service all they like, in the end when healthcare is in the hands of the private sector, choices and treatment will be badly eroded for the majority of ordinary people who will be unable to purchase expensive healthcare.
How much choice will a non paying patient who needs an MRI scan have, against a private patient who has been allowed to opt out of paying contributions and has purchased expensive health cover? Who will get the scan first? Who will nurse the private patients in NHS Trust hospitals?
Choice for the ordinary person in the end will be severely restricted. This is not just some empty threat, as a direct result of the Tory government and Andrew Lansley removing targets in the NHS, waiting times and lists have already risen sharply, and they have been flippantly explained away by Lansley as a "seasonal rise".
Lansley has also already removed the cap that NHS trusts have which restrict the number of private patients they treat, this will see a rise in the number of private patients treated and further erosion of choice treatment for NHS patients.
On this blog I have persistently tried to bring to people's attention about one of the biggest dangers that I see facing Lansley's "consortia".
GPs will be given a budget, that budget will be finite as the government is abolishing SHAs and PCTs, there will be nowhere to turn to if the money runs out. So which Consortia is going to want on their lists thousands of disabled, chronically sick and elderly people? These groups are notoriously expensive to treat, I have said we will be creating groups of health vagrants, drifting from one emergency treatment consortia to another as they will be unable to secure permanent healthcare, carrying with them all the obvious risks having no permanent health care would create.
Equally the opposite has been mentioned by GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, who has warned that failing GP practices could have to form a ‘consortium for the unwanted’ because the health white paper makes no provision for practices expelled from other consortia.
This radical reform of the NHS is going too fast, too far and trying to cover too much ground, for the health and safety of every single person in this country, this insane initiative must be stopped. these changes are not about improvig the NHS, they are about the ideological needs of the Conservative party who see this as their chance to rid central government of the "millstone" they have always thought of the NHS.