David Cameron on the NHS – in his own words


8:55 am - January 18th 2011

by Ellie Mae    


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Following Cameron’s lovely foray onto BBC Radio 4’s today, in which he waxed lyrical about the NHS; I thought I’d share some choice quotes with you, dear reader:

I believe the creation of the NHS is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. I always believed this.
David Cameron, 2006

Our PM was moved to utter the above during a party conference speech in 2006.

Cameron’s intention was to recast himself as the protector of the NHS, thereby relieving the Tories of their image as its natural enemy – exacerbated by NHS founder Aneurin Bevan, who described them as ‘lower than vermin.’

A terribly unpleasant accusation, I’m sure you’ll agree, but not exactly out of left field. The Tories had, after all, repeatedly attempted to prevent the establishment of an NHS.

But let’s not judge: people can change. Indeed, if any Tory was going to laud the virtues of our beloved health service, it was Cameron.

As he repeatedly reminded us on the campaign trail, his family were frequent users of the NHS:

When your family relies on the NHS all the time – day after day, night after night – you know how precious it is.
David Cameron, 2006

What a shame, then, that his tune was roundly changed yesterday. Apparently our NHS has been downgraded from precious to sub-standard:

There isn’t a quiet life option because there is so little incentive in the NHS to improve the health of the nation… We shouldn’t be aiming for second best.
David Cameron, 2011

Still, there’s no need for despondence. We can all take solace in Cameron’s many promises to ringfence the NHS budget. Remember when he promised this in 2006?

We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding.
David Cameron, 2006

Good for him. Although I have to wonder why the Royal College of Nursing keeps talking about imminent staff cuts if the budget is protected:

The worry is that we have seen time and again what happens when staffing levels are slashed without thinking of the impact on patient care… and there is no doubt care will suffer.
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing on imminent staff cuts, 2010

So surely the government’s decision to carry on regardless suggests these reforms are ideological? Doesn’t it?

These reforms aren’t about theory or ideology – they are about people’s lives. Your lives, the lives of the people you and I care most about: our children, our families and our friends. So I have to say to people: if not now, then when?
David Cameron, 2011

That’s settled then. These reforms are necessary, and I presume healthcare professionals must be largely supportive of them.

Closure of existing services will be necessary… [these reforms are] extraordinarily risky.
NHS Confederation report, 2011

…Oh.

See – I agree with Cameron on one thing: these reforms are about people’s lives. And given the volume of experts warning against them, I’d say it’s about time we demanded our PM explain himself.

The longer we anxiously watch while the government pushes these reforms through, the less chance we have to reverse any damage. If we don’t act, we may soon find there is no NHS to protect.

So I have to say to people: if not now, then when?

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About the author
Ellie Mae is an occasional contributor. She is co-editor of New Left Project. She is on Twitter and blogs here.
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Reader comments


Thanks for this, these are lovely quotes. I’ll use them in a letter to my MP, Nick “Nice but Thick” Herbert.

After ‘out of left field,’ can you please add ‘given that the Tories repeatedly voted against the NHS.’

At the moment it looks like I’m just blithely calling them lower than vermin!

As with everything else to do with rightwing politics, at the end of the day ideology trumps principle and pragmatism.

The very reason David Cameron and others want to rush through NHS reform is because they have something BIG to hide and the quicker they can get it rolling will mean that people may not cotton onto the Deceit untill it is irreversible to stop because the reform may well be to advanced to reverse.

All David Cameron’s Policies are turning out to be something else and not what we was led to believe. This Coalition is turning out to be a Coalition of Deceit and Misery.

5. Alisdair Cameron

Verging slightly off-topic here, but what seems remarkably un-remarked upon, and possibly worthy of a post/thread of its own is how far the reforms have happened already.
Those of us who work in Health (and Social care) have seen the changes being implemented over the last several months, at breakneck speed under the godawful diktat of the appalling Dept of Health (the upper echelons of which are completely infested by neo-liberal Blairite/Camerooney ideologies and privateers).
As ever the media’s been way behind the game on all this, despite the widespread alarm,warnings and protest in Health circles and on blogs, which they should and could have picked up on.
The White paper isn’t law, and yet great swathes of structures and organisations have been reorganised already with the accompanying redundancies and reductions in services. In my neck of the woods, while the sham consultation on the content of the White paper was still going on, with the DH road-show events and the charade of engagement, the SHA all but went, the PCT became a ghost ship and at least two fledgling GP consortia have had internal battles, displayed alarming ignorance of just how big a job they’re being tasked with and have,of course,brought in the private sector consultants (and natch, some ex-PCT staff on higher,consultancy rates…)

The Tories do not have a mandate and the Lib Dems certainly don’t have a mandate to do what they want to do. If the Lib Dems have a shred of decency and stick to the view that they were left of Labour at the last election, then they should vote this down.

The NHS belongs to us all of us in this country. It is not just a play thing for Cameron, Lansley and the chums of the Tory party who are salivating over the prospect of grabbing money from the public institution.

I like the “call to arms” at the end 🙂

But you are right, we are getting perilously close to the point of no return. Cameron talks about Consortia “trialling” commissioning, but what he isn’t saying is that if they fail there is no going back. The Pathfinders are not a “trial”, they are the implementation of this policy without Parliamentary approval. Undemocratic.

While I would love for this government to fall tomorrow and their legislative programme brushed away (or even better, to wake up, realise it was a nightmare and pledge never again to eat cheese before I go to bed) realistically this policy will only be brought down by long term action. That means educating everyone in your community what these policies will mean. Long waiting lists; local clinics and hospitals closing so you have to use facilities further away; common treatments (hip, knee, cataract, hernia) done on production lines by foreign companies, rare and complex procedures done by NHS hospitals in underfunded facilities; the break up of the family doctor system; exacerbation of the conflict between local government not wanting to pay for social care and the NHS grumbling over the costly treatments this causes; MPs and ministers no longer accountable for NHS provision, and service users will only have toothless (but well-meaning) talking shops (run by mostly white, elderly middle class men) to complain to.

I have been giving talks in my local area over the last 6 months, but only Labour party CLPs have been interested. Now is the time for me to change gear, book a hall, leaflet and get the public in.

People should remember that the Tories opposed the NHS since day one and the concept of the NHS goes against everything the bastards stand for. The find the idea that you can get anything, including health, free at the point of use, repugnant. If these ‘reforms’ end up with the NHS in tatters they will have scored a victory. They want to privatise the whole shooting match and leave the poor out in the cold.

Can we call him ‘Call me Liar’ now instead of ‘call me Dave?’

No wonder he hangs out with liar Clegg. Two liars in a pod. But not to worry, because the tory morons tell me that he looks Prime Ministerial. What ever that means.

But we should not be surprised. This is a man who used his disabled child as a human shield to hide his true intension for the NHS. People bought into the nice Mr Dave and his poor child, they appreciate the NHS.

Never mind I’m sure Lie Dems voice thinks all this is just great.

And given the volume of experts warning against them, I’d say it’s about time we demanded our PM explain himself.

I rather think that’s what the media were doing all day yesterday. And they (and you) got your answer. It was crisp, to the point, no BS.

Essentially, the policy is driven by two imperatives:

1. Costs in the NHS are rising (because of new technology, new drugs and an ageing population), which means that despite (modestly) growing resources, we’ll need to have a more efficient allocation of resources than we have now if we are to improve health outcomes to European standards.

2. Top-down, bureaucratic/managerialist approaches to resource allocation have been tried and found wanting. A bottom-up system where decisions are taken as close to the patient as possible will be more efficient in the end.

1. is undeniable. 2. is open to debate. But instead of the Left actually offering some arguments why central planning is a good thing in Health, we get mostly ad hominem slurs and questioning of motives of ministers (“it’s all a secret plot to enrich their pals in the private sector” etc.).

5

Yes excellent point. I’ve written about the NHS a lot recently (http://lurehumano.wordpress.com/category/nhs-privatisation/) and I’ve come across many stories of hospital execs trying to push the reforms on their staff, even before the deadline for comments on the white paper had passed. Maybe Richard can shed some light on why that is – my own feeling is that it’s because the execs are trying to ensure that the reforms take hold in a way they can control, instead of just having to deal with consequences.

7

There needs to be a call to arms! Now seems like a good time. I might talk to False Economy about it…

8

Yes. My unedited version of this piece (up later) includes a Bevan quote in which he vowed never to forget the Tory resistance to the NHS. That was after Clement Atlee reproached him for saying the below:

‘That is why no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now…But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were. ‘

Seems remarkably fitting, doesn’t it?

@ 10 FP Exactly by how much do you think the NHS budget is increasing in real, inflation adjusted terms?

13. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

I don’t really see what the point is here.

‘Fighting’ the tories based on the highly deprecated notion that they’re even mildly interested in reality or facts will get you absolutely nowhere.

My my, look at all the lefties getting their panties in a twist over the NHS!

It will be hilarious to see how powerless you are to stop these reforms.

The Tories talked about ending central control over the NHS for years.

This is what many people in the country want.

The old NHS failed.

Time for something new.

You can’t stop progress.

10

And pat they come like the catastophe of the old comedy…

Funny how your post doesn’t address the fact that nearly every expert in the country is critical of these reforms.

You say ‘the left does this, the left does that…’ Well, as far as I’m concerned, all the right does is parade the French, Swedish etc healthcare systems around as though that is what is going to emerge from these reforms.

Not one single person, not even the people who are in favour of these reforms, believe that will be the result. So please give it a rest.

@10. Flowerpower

I rather think that’s what the media were doing all day yesterday. And they (and you) got your answer. It was crisp, to the point, no BS.

Bollocks. The entire speech was oozing with BS.

Cameron “health inequalities are worse than since Victorian times”. Errm, data only exists since 1921, and the data proves that *everyone* are living longer than every before. The fact that the rich are living longer than the poor is plain and simple: they can afford not to eat crap food and don’t do jobs that affect their health. But hey, if you are so concerned about the rich living so long, why not start a mass cull (and confiscate their wealth, naturally)?

1. Costs in the NHS are rising (because of new technology, new drugs and an ageing population), which means that despite (modestly) growing resources, we’ll need to have a more efficient allocation of resources than we have now if we are to improve health outcomes to European standards.

And the rest of the world are suffering these cost pressures. But let me give you a clue: they are due to the existing private providers making huge profits. You identify “new technology, new drugs” as being the problem, yet these are private, so-called competitive markets. Capitalism has not brought sown costs there, has it? And Lansley’s plans to marketise and privatise the NHS will not bring down costs either. What we need is more price regulation of pharma, and Lansley is suggesting less. The one institution that has been able to bring big pharma to heel is NICE and Lansley is neutering NICE.

The third cause of cost that you give, “ageing population”, is where Cameron will make his savings. Elderly people denied care (it is happening NOW), people on trolleys in hospital corridors, vulnerable people ignored and left to die at home. That is how Lansley will cut his costs.

2. Top-down, bureaucratic/managerialist approaches to resource allocation have been tried and found wanting. A bottom-up system where decisions are taken as close to the patient as possible will be more efficient in the end.

Have you read the policy? Lansley is moving the “top-down, bureaucratic/managerialist approaches to resource allocation” from the Department of Health where he is the accountable head, accountable to Parliament and to MPs; to the “NHS Commissioning Board”. The NCB will do exactly the same thing as the DH. It will allocate resources to GP consortia (“top-down, bureaucratic/managerialist resource allocation”) with the same staff as before, but with one crucial difference. It will be “independent”, which means no accountability. The white paper says that the NCB will be accountable to Parliament once a year, not all the time as is the case with the DH at the moment. The white paper says that the NCB will be given a three year plan, renewed once a year by the Secretary of state.

Basically we will have the same “top-down, bureaucratic/managerialist approach to resource allocation” but without the current level of accountability. They will be able to do what the fuck they like, and we will not be able to complain. No wonder St Vince calls it Maoist.

Ellie May @ 15

Funny how your post doesn’t address the fact that nearly every expert in the country is critical of these reforms.

Because it’s not so. Opinion is divided (as you’d expect). When the proposals were published only 3 out of 33 members of the BMA general council wanted flat-out resistance. Others preferred constructive engagement. The current King’s Fund boss is agin; the previous one supportive. Some people support some parts of the reform but are anxious about others. It’s a dynamic process where some people’s reservations will be addressed along the way.

What you are failing to do is provide any arguments against the proposition that putting clinicians (and clinical criteria) in the driving seat is better than leaving managers (and bureaucratic criteria) supreme.

If you have some…. let’s hear them

I’ve come across many stories of hospital execs trying to push the reforms on their staff, even before the deadline for comments on the white paper had passed. Maybe Richard can shed some light on why that is – my own feeling is that it’s because the execs are trying to ensure that the reforms take hold in a way they can control, instead of just having to deal with consequences.

Remember that hospitals are providers and under the internal market they “sell” their services to the commissioners, who are currently the PCTs, but in the future will be GP commissioners. It is the commissioners who will be spending our money, and who are open to the private sector influence. (Although, as I’ll explain below, there is some private sector influence in hospitals.)

You are right that these changes are being implemented (undemocratically) without Parliamentary approval. If a Labour government had said that one sixth of public spending would be shifted without Parliamentary approval to the pet project of a Labour minister, right wingers would be on the streets, brandishing their (legally registered) firearms calling the government Stalinist, but they are doing nothing now that we have a right wing government doing precisely that. In July, Lansley told SHAs that GP commissioning was going to happen regardless (and probably in spite of) what MPs think and told SHAs to implement it anyway. So much for the end of top-down re-orgs, since Lansley was using centrism to impose his plans. The “new politics” is imposing changes without Parliament having an opportunity to examine those changes.

As to what hospital execs are doing now, I should point you to The Christie in Manchester. This has “Europe’s largest cancer treatment centre”. Last year they signed a deal with HCA (Hospital Corp of America, who are the recipient of the US’s largest fine for fraud – $2bn) where HCA patients would use The Christie facilities to treat private patients. Now call me cynical, but I do not think that the private patients will be in the same queue as NHS patients (however, good the NHS facilities are).

At the moment some (not all) hospital execs are looking at how they can create the two tier system and find out how to get lots more private patients into NHS hospitals. Wah, wah, wah, what’s that siren? Oh a private patient has broken a finger nail and all doctors have to attend, because that is where most of the income of the hospital will come from.

Those hospitals that cannot raise their private income – they are the less glamorous ones, in deprived areas and full of elderly patients – will rot.

@14. Bourgeois

It will be hilarious to see how powerless you are to stop these reforms.

In Parliament, yes. The lick-spittle Lib Dems realise now that their annihilation is assured and that their only chance is to hold on to their Tory masters hoping they will get some protection. Meanwhile Dead Ed flounders around not realising what the implications really are. (The poor boy is totally out of his depth.)

However, the people who will stop this policy are just stirring…

This is what many people in the country want.

On this point you are completely wrong. 100% wrong. What many people in the country want (as Ellie says) is to keep our NHS public. It is our national religion. Like the Poll Tax, the normally uninterested in politics (heck, disinterested in politics), leave-me-alone to live my life, “mustn’t grumble” section of society (ie the majority) will bring this policy down. The public are finally waking up to what these policies will really mean. And Cameron just made the biggest political mistake of his life, by highlighting what those policies will mean. Yesterday’s speech will be maked as the end of Cameron and Lansley’s political careers.

@17. Flowepower

Funny how your post doesn’t address the fact that nearly every expert in the country is critical of these reforms.

Funny how you will not accept that other that the National Association of Primary Care (who are the few GPs who supported the thoroughly unpopular GP fundholding), none of the professional groups support Lansley’s plans.

What you are failing to do is provide any arguments against the proposition that putting clinicians (and clinical criteria) in the driving seat is better than leaving managers (and bureaucratic criteria) supreme.

Visit my site, you’ll see I address all of the issue there. But the most important issue is that clinicians are not being put in control. If that was the the original idea, then Lansley would simply have put GPs in control of PCTs or HORROR did what the lick-spittle Lib Dems requested and made PCT boards democratically elected. Lansley tossed that idea away without a second thought.

Look at what has happened with NHS London. All of the so-called GP pathfinder consortia in the entire city have been told that they have to use KPMG to commission the care of their patient. Wake up! GPs are not being given the control of commissioning, private companies are!

@ 20

Wake up! GPs are not being given the control of commissioning, private companies are!

What nonsense. The KPMG contract is for some training & advice in setting up new organizations and systems. It is explicitly a “support” contract. Accountants aren’t going to be doing the actual commissioning!

The NHS London statement describes KPMG’s role as providing

leadership development and organisational development for GPs in the first eight pathfinder consortia in London

The whole point of this reform is that it will be GPs who choose which hospitals/services are best for their patients.

You seem stuck in organisational diagrams. You aren’t an NHS manager are you?

tory troIl “will be hilarious to see how powerless you are to stop these reforms. The old NHS failed.”

This is a fascinating insight into the minds of the average tory knuckle dragger these days. Policies really don’t matter. What is important for the pea brains is” does it piss of Liberals?”

Centuries of tory philosophy have been reduced to nothing more than Does it piss of Liberals. No morality, no substance, no effort to tell the public the truth, just lies and more lies. But that is ok because it gets liberals very angry. This is the new international right wing philosophy. Lets fuck everything up, just so we can piss off liberals.

The troll even lies without knowing anything about anything . “The old NHS failed. “ That will be news to most people in this country, who love the NHS and who remember what it was like before. But the troll does not care at the number of lives that have been saved. No, destroying it pisses of liberals and that is all that matters.

But the tories have always hated the NHS, it deals on need not on wealth. And tories like a society that is controlled by wealth and privilege. If you can’t afford health care then fuck you and your family. Nothing new here. But the stench ridden Lie Dems and their moronic leader, have sold out to the far right. They pretended to be of the left, and got many people to vote for them who felt New Labour had become a rotting tory corpse. They can stop this. Lie Dem MPS can say NO, we were not elected to destroy the NHS. But do they have guts or are they Clegg fodder?

David Cameron (2011)
There isn’t a quiet life option because there is so little incentive in the NHS to improve the health of the nation… We shouldn’t be aiming for second best.

Little incentive?! The nations health is the incentive and the profit motive can not compete with that most noble of incentives. In fact, the profit motive introduces significant disincentives into healthcare. At least that’s the view of the noted economist Paul Krugman.

Also, I think you mean ‘so few incentives’ and not ‘so little incentive’ Mr. Cameron. Honestly, the state of private education in this country!

David Cameron (2011)
These reforms aren’t about theory or ideology – they are about people’s lives. Your lives, the lives of the people you and I care most about: our children, our families and our friends. So I have to say to people: if not now, then when?

This is exactly the kind of drivel I would expect of a former public relations man like David Cameron; devoid any real substance and designed to deflect attention from these dangerous reforms. The Conservatives are looking out for their spoilt children, their privileged families and their wealthy friends; not ours!

I was hoping that the age of spin and manipulative public relations would have died a quick death with the departure of Tony Blair. However it slogged on throughout Gordon Browns tenure (in often comical ways) and has seen a resurgence within this chimera government. When will it end?!

24. Trevor Cheeseman

Excellent post and debate. Can I recommend getting behind the 38 degrees NHS campaign …

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/content/host-nhs-get-together/

… and lobbying Lib Dems MPs especially. Simon Hughes and John Pugh have already publically expressed their concerns – eg:

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/01/simon-hughes-fabian-society-next-left-conference/

25. Evil baby-killing Tory conspiracy

“Also, I think you mean ‘so few incentives’ and not ‘so little incentive’ Mr. Cameron. Honestly, the state of private education in this country!”

No, he’s using “incentive” here as an abstract noun, so the phrase “little incentive” is quite correct.

At last people are starting to realise the end of the NHS is nigh.As someone who has given my entire working life to the NHS I applaud the comments of Alisdair Cameron and can confirm gradual dismembering of the service has been forced upon us despite our opposition.
I have worked as a nurse for over thirty years and remember the days when technology, drugs, indeed all facilities were poorer than today,.However the reason most of us stuck at it, despite the low wages and long hours, was hope. We felt the nation was behind us in our quest to continue to improve the aims of the NHS, to provide healthcare, free at the point of need for everyone irrespective of their financial standing. We had aspirations and it never occurred to us our hopes would be dashed by our own Government. I appeal to everyone to act now in the hope that we might still be in time to prevent the Tories fulfilling their long term desire to rid this country of the best health service in the world in the name of profit. Also when is the Labour Party going to realise to be in opposition actually means occasionally it is there job to oppose!

The notion that the Coalition’s reforms will destroy the NHS is silly. What the reforms will probably achieve is to make the NHS a little more like the leading healthcare systems of continental Europe. Remember that post-1945, no other country followed the British centralised, command-and-control, producer-led healthcare model. Surely all these other countries were not mistaken and misled, and the UK alone was right? For if we go by results and by customer focus, the NHS does not compare well…

The world’s best heathcare system, the French, is a centrally-financed, insurance-based, devolved, ‘mixed economy’ (ie public + private provision) model. Germany and Spain have not dissimilar systems. And all three countries have far better healthcare than we do. Despite our spending close to the European average on healthcare, the NHS is second rate compared to such countries – apparently, the NHS delivers at about the same level as the Polish system.

So, we may love the NHS, we may admire many of those who serve in it, but we can still recognise that it is time to remove its ageing Stalinist framework. When the current round of reforms are complete, I hope a future government moves next to make our healthcare insurance-based, and with a mixture of public and private providers, like the systems created by the continental social democracies.

Paul,
How many times have I heard that argument, The French health service may be better than some but it is complicated and not without cost as you say a mixture of insurance and a public system and anyway the Tory party would prefer the American system where you child could die in your arms while being redirected to a hospital which is prepared to treat the poor. (my in law’s are American)
The NHS may not be perfect but it’s aims are morally right and the reason it is struggling to cope is because of the repeated reorganisations of successive governments, the next one may indeed be the last. Do you want your local health care centre to be run by private business from the USA? Perhaps you can afford private insurance.
Luckily I live in Wales where we haven’t sunk that low yet.
PS I don’t think NHS workers want your admiration, they would prefer your support

@27. paul ilc

I do wish people would not say that the re-organisation will give us a system like the French. It is wrong for two main reasons:

1) It won’t, Lansley’s model is far closer to the US HMO system than the French system
2) We won’t be spending the amounts of money the French do

The French spend 11% of GDP and we spend 8.7%. Osborne’s cut the NHS funds, and handed a chunk of it to local authorities, so we are not likely to reach French levels of funding in the Parliament. (Well, not unless you’ve got £30bn a year you can magic up.)

This is the healthcare version of Godwin’s law: when you invoke French healthcare in a discussion about the NHS it means you’ve already lost.

Chrissie

The French system is No.1 in the WHO rankings: the NHS is a long way down, below the health services of significantly poorer countries.

Possibly, just possibly, some Tories would favour the introduction here of an American-style system; but I have seen no evidence that that is Tory policy, because it clearly isn’t. You are just exaggerating and scaremongering.

You claim the NHS is “morally right”. Yet the French and German systems deliver higher quality healthcare and take care of the poor better than the NHS. So what if parts of those systems are run for profit? The French and German systems are not only publicly funded but also more effective at minimising suffering and prolonging life; so their very success makes it immoral to oppose the introduction of a similar system into the UK!

The reason that the NHS is struggling to cope is not “because of the repeated reorganisations of successive governments”. It is struggling to cope because of its over-centralised, Stalinist, command-and-control, producer-led and bureaucratic structure is insufficiently flexible and efficient to meet the needs and aspirations of its users. Remember, Nye Bevan imagined that demand for healthcare would decline when the NHS had been in existence for a while, so the system was never designed to respond flexibly to new aspirations and needs.

Finally, you invite me to “support” rather than admire NHS workers. Much though I admire many of them, I cannot do that. They or their unions support the status quo – and as such they are placing their interests above those of patients, who would live longer and suffer less with a system like those in France or Germany. When we know we can improve healthcare for all in the UK, it is simply immoral not to try to do so and also immoral to obstruct that process in the interests of those who work in the service.

Richard Blogger @29: I am not claiming that the reforms will give us a Franco-German-style system. I’m saying they will take us a little closer to their models. And, yes, the French spend more than we do as a % of gdp; but that should not stop us cherry-picking the best bits of it and adapting them to the UK context. When we’ve paid off the excesses of the last government, I would welcome an increase in health spending.

As for using American ideas, I have no problem at all with that – providing the system overall is publicly-funded and the poor are not in any way disadvantaged.

“This is the healthcare version of Godwin’s law: when you invoke French healthcare in a discussion about the NHS it means you’ve already lost.” That is just an amusing rhetorical device of yours, and not a point that gets us any further.

Basically, the NHS is second-rate. The British people deserve better. So how would you improve it, bearing in mind that simply pumping even more money into the scelerotic system will bring only marginal returns?

“As for using American ideas, I have no problem at all with that – providing the system overall is publicly-funded and the poor are not in any way disadvantaged.”

Well that expalains everything. You want the American system, which shows you have no concern for the poor, so why you whaffle on about protecting the poor is anyones guess.

The selfish tories are destroying the NHS without any mandate, and they hope to create a system that will be easy to sell off to the American health care giants 10-25 years down the road.

You aren’t an NHS manager are you?

Why is it when someone defends public services right whingers always assume that it is because you work for them? That is just lazy thinking.

I have never worked for the NHS. Since graduating I had three salaried jobs then in 1996 I went self employed, freelance, ran my own Ltd co, sold it, went freelance again. (Oh and none of my clients are public sector, they are mostly US based, or UK subsidiaries of US companies.) You know, the SME, entrepreneur, innovative businessman this country is supposed to depend upon. It’s just that I recognise that the private sector cannot survive without a viable public sector. I recognise that the services I get from the state are vital for my business to survive.

@31. paul ilc

As for using American ideas, I have no problem at all with that – providing the system overall is publicly-funded and the poor are not in any way disadvantaged.

Then why are you griping? The system we have at the moment (Blair’s re-organisation) is based upon the Kaiser model. There you go, we already have the US reform, can we stop now?

Basically, the NHS is second-rate.

Sorry, but you are wrong, and the figures show that you are. The recent OECD report does not say that we are second rate (Cameron will regret making that faux pas), in fact it says the NHS is doing rather well, in that it has outcomes and efficiencys equivalent to the rest of the OECD countries (unfortunately you have to buy the report to find the results, there’s no link online). The one glaring item in the OECD report is that they say that the NHS can make large efficiency savings in one area. I bet you cannot guess where…

… go on, have a guess…

… I bet you cannot guess…

The reason is that the OECD says that compared to our European partners, and even compared to the US, we are paying our GPs too much. Guess what Lansley is doing in his re-org? Well, let’s put it this way, he’s not doing what the OECD says he should be doing.

Richard @ 34:

“we already have the US reform, can we stop now?”

No, there is a long way to go with the NHS. As for the 2010 OECD report you refer to makes clear, NHS inefficiency is the third worst among 29 peer countries. Only Greece and Ireland’s healthcare sectors had more scope for efficiency savings, and the UK came out well below the OECD average. That sounds like second rate (at least!) to me!

It is interesting is how reactionary and conservative many self-styled progressives are in matters of healthcare and education. It does not matter whether the change leads to better outcomes, as moving closer to the best systems in the world surely will. The monolithic interests of those who work in the NHS must take priority over those of service users.

36. Anon E Mouse

Since it was the Labour Party that used private companies contracted from the NHS to perform operations what’s all the fuss about?

Not one post here has commented on what’s better for the patient, who really just want’s to be made well again and isn’t interested in PCT’s or whatever.

The cost to the patient is still free at the point of use.

All Labour seem to care about is the fact that their big state control freak policies are being dismantled one by one by this government. This means the likelihood of their re-election to government is diminished if the Labour machine is demolished and voters in one of the several layers of unnecessary management in the NHS have gone.

When there are more managers than doctors and nurses in the system something has gone very very wrong.

Labour supporters must watch Ed Miliband looking like a sixth form student at PMQ’s every week with horror and realise the game is up and this is just an attempt to oppose absolutely everything to deflect from the leader’s shortcomings…

If these “reforms are so necessary, how come it was not necessary to put them in the Tory manifesto?

sorry I haven’t had time to continue the debate just home from the latest 13 hour shift actually working on the front line, haven’t got the energy to talk about it, except maybe to take great exception to the comment Paul made about the monolithic interests of those who work in the NHS. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about Paul. On behalf of me and my colleagues, some of whom have recently lost their jobs, you have my total disrespect!

According to the Commonwealth Fund Survey of health systems in 11 richest nations, you’ll see that the NHS came top for efficiency and cost effectiveness, and came 2nd overall (Netherlands came top). It is also noted as the only health system where income does not affect access to treatment. The US healthcare system came bottom, and has the highest percentage of people not receiving treatment because of cost, and having disputes with insurers not paying up.


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  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  6. Adam Young

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  7. Gateshead GreenParty

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  8. Wonko Grime

    David Cameron, 2006 – We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding… v @MissEllieMae http://bit.ly/evKJ1u

  9. Lee Hyde

    RT @libcon: David Cameron on the NHS – in his own words http://bit.ly/e5lYQ5

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  14. NewLeftProject

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    RT @NewLeftProject: New Left Co-Ed @misselliemae gives us Cameron's opinion on the NHS – in his own words http://bit.ly/e5lYQ5

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  21. Socialist Doctor

    RT @NewLeftProject: New Left Co-Ed @misselliemae gives us Cameron's opinion on the NHS – in his own words http://bit.ly/e5lYQ5

  22. Rachel Hubbard

    DavidCameronOnNHS–InHisOwnWords|LiberalConspiracy http://goo.gl/jO2WP (NHSFounderAneurinBevan, who described them as ‘lower than vermin.’)

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    RT @libcon: David Cameron on the NHS – in his own words http://bit.ly/e5lYQ5

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  27. Neal Shepperson

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  28. Marcus Chown

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  29. Glaikit

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  30. John Dougherty

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  31. Alan Gibbons

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  32. V. David-Martin

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  33. Andrew Simmonds

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006

  34. Yrotitna

    http://t.co/Scv4xq0U #nhs @marcuschown 'We will never jeopardise the NHS by cutting its funding'.
    David Cameron, 2006





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