Will Cameron be able to avert the NHS car-crash?


9:07 am - May 16th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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David Cameron is due to make a ‘big speech’ today in a bid to rescue Andrew Lansley and avert the car-crash that are the NHS proposals.

But even his own supporters aren’t convinced by the tough-sell. Only 2% of Tories said improving the NHS would attract more support. And it gets worse.

The poll, by Lord Ashcroft, also found that on the NHS voters were found to be “very sceptical” of controversial proposals.

Comres yesterday had similar bad news. It found that the cornerstone of Lansley’s plans is rejected by a majority of people.

“The Government must rethink its plans to hand over most spending decisions in the NHS to GPs/family doctors” – Agree: 62% Disagree: 15%

And that figure includes 51% of Conservatives. According to the Guardian, Cameron will return to his familiar pitch today:

Alluding to his young son Ivan’s dependence on the NHS before his death, Cameron will return to a familiar formulation: “It’s the most important thing to my family. That’s why, over four years ago, I got up on a platform like this and said that you could sum up my priorities in just three letters, N-H-S.”

There are problems here for both sides.

For Cameron, even if people see his intentions as benign, it’s not spelled out why these proposals are needed. Consequentially, there is no appetite and people aren’t convinced the plans will improve things anyway.

The harder Cameron pushes to save Lansley and deflect criticism – the more any deterioration in the NHS will be tied to him.

For Ed Miliband, its still not clear how he plans to make political capital from this. Sure, they want NHS reforms ‘ripped up’, but the party is doing little to spell out why specific reforms are bad.

Worse, there seems to be no opposition research going on. It was Political Scrapbook who highlighted that Cameron’s recently appointed advisor had said the NHS would be shown “no mercy”. It wasn’t the Labour party. The party needs to sharpen up its attacks.

This week the health unions should also announce whether a nation-wide protest on the birth-date of the NHS (in July) will go ahead. That should offer activists a focal point nationally. But in the meantime, Labour has to ensure with every fibre of its beings that Cameron does not avert this car-crash.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

“Mark Britnell, who was appointed to a “kitchen cabinet” advising the prime minister on reforming the NHS, told a conference of executives from the private sector that future reforms would show “no mercy” to the NHS and offer a “big opportunity” to the for-profit sector”.
http://labour-uncut.co.uk/

Does anybody seriously think D-Cam can derail the juggernaut unleashed by NuLab?

2. the a&e charge nurse

Oh look – the propaganda war is getting underway nicely.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13408021

3. Angharrid..

Again he pulls out his disabled son to justify his idiotic plans to enrich his greedy mates….DISGRACFUL!!!!
How does this piece of sh*t sleep at night!!!!….oh yeah forgot. On his mattress of cash!!

For the avoidance of doubt, Spinwatch got the original spot last Monday. Although I do remember Googling another source from January which I now can’t find among the more recent mentions!

“… the party is doing little to spell out why specific reforms are bad.”

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Labour party (leadership) is comprised of arseholes who are most likely delighted that these measures have been put forward by the Tories.

They will make ‘political capital’ by seeming to oppose the changes at every turn, whilst offering no solution of their own; will trumpet loudly some minor concession wrought from the hands of a harried Lansley (who will eventually resign in disgrace) – and whenever they are next in office, they will further the plans and complete the hatchet job, whilst blaming the Tories for any fallout.

What is interesting about the polls I’ve seen on the NHS is that a majority of the populace (sorry: a majority of those surveyed) trust *no-one* to “make the right decisions” on the NHS. No political party (leader?) has the confidence of the electorate on this crucial issue – isn’t that astonishing?

6. the a&e charge nurse

[5] “a majority of the populace (sorry: a majority of those surveyed) trust *no-one* to “make the right decisions” on the NHS” – one would have to be either exceptionally naive, or plain thick, to trust the likes of Dave, Nick or our Ed given the infatuation of all of their parties with marketisation of health (and by extension, privatisation, which is now almost within the coalition’s grasp).

Neither the BMA or RCN have any confidence in Lansley’s Bill – but what do they know, eh? – mind you the objections of most jobbing doctors or nurses are easily dismissed by pro-marketeers (such as Daniel ‘Fox news’ Hannon) by accusing them of provider self interest?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/15/bma-meeting-rejects-nhs-reforms

http://www.rcn.org.uk/newsevents/news/article/uk/huge_support_for_no_confidence_vote_on_reforms

Anyway, look at this – is it any wonder nobody can take these guys seriously?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH2EmVGowCk

For Ed Miliband, its still not clear how he plans to make political capital from this. Sure, they want NHS reforms ‘ripped up’, but the party is doing little to spell out why specific reforms are bad.

Worse, there seems to be no opposition research going on. It was Political Scrapbook who highlighted that Cameron’s recently appointed advisor had said the NHS would be shown “no mercy”. It wasn’t the Labour party. The party needs to sharpen up its attacks.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t bash @psbook on this again (they did seem contrite when I criticised them at the weekend) but it was not Political Scrapbook who broke that story, it was @spinwatch. More concerning, the conference quoted was in October last year! No one (and I am pointing a finger at you, Labour) noticed it then.

Ed Miliband is proving to be incompetent at this. Yes, the concerted effort at PMQs was a good idea – make sure that all Labour MPs ask NHS questions to get Cameron on the hop. But the problem is the dearth of talent in Parliament. There are a few people who are good at asking incisive questions and the rest are crap. When you have question after question about the NHS and the only soundbite that gets on the News is Cameron saying “calm sown dear” then you know that your questioning was ineffective.

I am also concerned with Cameron and Lansley getting away with incorrect statements. Like for example the purely made up figures from Lansley that if Labour had won the election NHS funding would have been cut by £28bn. When Lansley came out with that, Healey just brushed it off, clueless. He is not on top of the subject. He should have pressed Lansley and found out that a) the figure Lansley uses arbitrarily knocks 5% off Darling’s figures and b) his figures double counts his own spending – £1bn a year is spent on two things simultaneously. Easy to check, easy to debunk and ignored by Healey.

8. Flowerpower

@ 7

In Wales – the only place Labour can still enact its policies and show its true colours – it is cutting the NHS budget by £1 billion over 3 years.

These are real ‘cuts’, not efficiency savings (where the full amount saved is ploughed back into the NHS). Labour is actually cutting the amount given by the Assembly to NHS Wales in the first place.

….And we are asked to believe that Labour wouldn’t do the same in England, if it could?

Piull the other one.

9. the a&e charge nurse

[8] that’s conflating a separate issue, i.e. money available to spend on health as opposed to the STRUCTURE of health services.

This current debate is not about wether party A would have spent slightly more or less than party B or C – but rather the long term implications for patients once the founding principles of the NHS are sufficiently eroded so that non-state providers have the sort of conditions that will enable them to apply business principles to health care.

Judging by the actions of ALL the main political parties, it seems they regard ‘competition’ as the best mechanism to drive up health standards, even if it means large sums of money finds its way into the pocket of the fatcats?

10. Winston "roots" Chruchill

COMBAT THE PR MACHINE.

We need the artists of Britain to combat the army of PR stooges and manipulated right wing press.

Make sure everyone see’s this and buys a copy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl1jPqqTdNo

PR stooges 0 – Creative artists 1

Remember the boost UB40 gave to Britain under thatcher – this is what we need.

11. Watchman

Remember the boost UB40 gave to Britain under thatcher – this is what we need.

Not very good reggae? Really?

Of couse UB40 were fundamental is bringing down the Conservative government that lasted from 1979 to 1997 due to their radical mid-90s phase (well actually, didn’t they go quiet after Kingston Town etc in the early 90s, but lets not let history stand in the way of a good story).

How could David Cameron disgrace and demean the memory of his dead son by using him to try and con the British people that this isn’t NHS privitisation by stealth? The man clearly has no respect for his own dead son’s memory.

Is there no limit to the depths of Cameron’s utter depravity?

Did Cameron secretly blame Ivan for being “defective”, unfit to be the child of such a superior being from such noble stock? Did his existence disgust him? Was he a source of secret shame?

His policies towards and demonisation of the sick and disabled since he’s come to power has shown his complete contempt for them.

13. Watchman

One thing that mystifies me here is the strange acceptance that organisations that serve to protect the interests of their members, nurses and doctors, will be disinterested participants.

It may have escaped your notice, but the doctors and nurses in this country mainly employed by one organisation with a single wage structure. This means there is no competition over wages (which I would suggest would likely push nurses wages up, and doctors down, but that’s only a guess), more difficulty in dealing with staff who are not up to scratch and a greater role for the representative bodies (remember these are not elected to represent the people as a whole). I can see seriously vested interests there…

Anyway, my general principle when changing anything is that given a choice between two options which cause equal disruption, it is generally best to disrupt the service providers rather than the users. As far as I can see, this is what the NHS reforms will do – users can still wander in and get treated without having to pay (perhaps even without having to wait to get on waiting lists).

@13 Nice try, Watchman, but bollocks. There is a happy coincidence of interests for providers and recipients of NHS healthcare, and not a shareholder in sight.

15. the a&e charge nurse

[13] “As far as I can see, this is what the NHS reforms will do – users can still wander in and get treated without having to pay” – then I fear you do not understand where these reforms are leading, as evidenced by the subtle change in language in the proposed bill – now why would our Andrew do such a thing?

A nice analysis here
http://www.badmed.net/bad-medicine-blog/2011/04/if-it-walks-duck.html

but it was not Political Scrapbook who broke that story, it was @spinwatch. More concerning, the conference quoted was in October last year! No one (and I am pointing a finger at you, Labour) noticed it then

I agree Spin Watch broke it – but until it went viral via Psbook, it wouldn’t have been picked up by the Observer.

I agree on the second point though – it should have been Labour who picked it up. They’re getting very lax on opposition research.

GP’s are set to be well rewarded arms of the state making provision of adequate health care dependent upon citizens-patients compliance with whatever ‘healthy living’ or other intrusive diktats are put together to undermine their exercise of choice and sense of independence.
Reports landing on their desks of some patients troublesome ‘anarchism’, for example, under perhaps, the label of ‘violence against the social peace’ might give doc an opportunity to pick up a bonus ot two by packing the stricken off to quasi medicial correctional facility of some new but unwanted kind.

18. the a&e charge nurse

“Cameron sought to dig himself out of his hole on Monday, but too late. His claim that “there will be no privatisation … no cherry-picking from private providers” reminds us that privatisation and cherry-picking are the likely outcomes of his bill. Blair would have allowed private interests to keep spreading through the health service as slowly and quietly as dry rot. In their book The Plot Against the NHS, Colin Leys and Stewart Player show that Cameron’s health and social care bill consolidates a plan that has been fermenting for many years”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/16/cameron-blair-nhs-kitemark

No wonder poor old Ed continues with his impression of a goldfish
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX1BzvaqrAs&feature=fvst


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  2. Double.Karma

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  5. Natacha Kennedy

    Cameron continues NHS "reforms" http://bit.ly/ifkDuu He has not listened. Good day for Ed Miliband. #NHS

  6. Ceehaitch

    RT @natachakennedy: Cameron continues NHS "reforms" http://bit.ly/ifkDuu He has not listened. Good day for Ed Miliband. #NHS

  7. Watching You

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  8. sunny hundal

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  9. David Stockdale

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