Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill?


8:50 am - September 9th 2011

by Richard Blogger    


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Labour could be re-elected at the next election on a huge majority if it exposed Lansley’s Bill and then campaigned against it. We hear so little from Labour that we do not know if they want the Bill or not. We do not know if Labour wants to be re-elected.

I tried to find a succinct list from Labour giving their opposition to the Bill, but I couldn’t find one.

Read this:

  1. the removal of all references to promoting competition whether directly or indirectly. 
  2. any duty to promote choice being made subsidiary to duties to promote fair access, equality of outcomes, and integrated services. 
  3. the removal of the facility for transferring NHS assets, including land, to third party providers. 
  4. retaining the cap on Private Patient Income by NHS Foundation trusts. 
  5. the restoration of the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of, healthcare services, and the reinstatement of the power of the Secretary of State to delegate his functions to NHS commissioners and to direct them as necessary. 
  6. the retention of the ability of the local authority overview and scrutiny function to refer significant services changes to the Secretary of State for adjudication. 
  7. providing that Health and Well-being Boards (HWBs) have a majority of elected members and are able refer unresolved disputes with local commissioners to the Secretary of State rather than to a national qango. 
  8. the explicit prohibition of the wholesale outsourcing of commissioning work to private companies. 
  9. guaranteeing that commissioning groups are fully co-terminous with social services local authorities, except where HWBs and local authorities agree otherwise, and are funded solely on the basis of the health needs of the population. 
  10. the removal of the power to pay financial incentives to practitioners as a means of influencing their referral behaviour. 
  11. rejection of any personal health budget scheme which allow users to spend NHS funds on private health insurance or as a top up towards private health care or to buy services or treatments judged too ineffective or inefficient for the NHS to buy. 
  12. the inclusion of a duty on all NHS bodies, when arranging with non-NHS bodies to provide services, to avoid any risk of essential NHS services (including teaching and research) being destabilised in an unplanned way through loss of income or case-load 
  13. ensuring Directors of Public Health remain independent sources of expert advice.

Are these Labour’s objections to the Health and Social Care Bill? No. These are objections from the Social Liberal Forum (Dr Evan Harris’ group).

All the talk at the moment is what this Lib Dem peer or that Lib Dem peer will attempt to amend when the Bill reaches the Lords. Why aren’t we hearing the same thing about Labour peers? Is it because the labour working peers are all Blair’s chums who couldn’t care less?

Labour is the party of the NHS. But if Labour does not raise its game on opposing the Health and Social Care Bill it will lose this title; or worse, it may get the name of the party who failed to raise a finger to protect the NHS.

Meanwhile, if you are a Lib Dem go to the conference and vote for Charles West’s motion. If you are Labour then campaign that these 13 points form Labour’s objection to the Bill. If you are Conservative then you should be ashamed of your party.

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Richard is a regular contributor. He blogs more frequently at Conservative Policies Dissected.
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Reader comments


1. the a&e charge nurse

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which”.

THIS

3. the a&e charge nurse

Labour MP’s had their chance when Tony was busy pissing on our backs – predictably they acquiesced as the road to privatisation was gradually being laid.

Why aren’t we hearing the same thing about Labour peers? Is it because the labour working peers are all Blair’s chums who couldn’t care less?

No, it’s because Labour doesn’t believe this piece of shit can be amended into something acceptable, and isn’t engaged in some kind of party morale-building exercise by appearing to reduce the insanity a little. Why isn’t there a bullet list of Labour objections? Because Labour thinks the only solution is to nuke the entire thing from orbit. I’d much rather that than someone who ennumerates their serious concerns before doing fuck all.

as our Twitter conversation has established, we prefer to be referred to as the Social Liberal Forum (given that this is our group’s name it seems reasonable), and just to clarify, it isn’t so much Dr. Evan Harris’ group so much as he’s a leading activist within a growing organisation chaired by Dr. David Hall-Matthews and with an extensive elected Council (of which I’m a member).

@CSClark – many Labour MPs may well want the Bill nuked in public but it’s unlikely that this is out of any objection to its detail, given it’s largely an extension of their own policies pursued in 13 years of government. The pro-market, pro-choice theme of the Lansley reforms could just as easily have stemmed from pretty much any Labour Health Secretary – not to mention that the majority at the 3rd Reading – notwithstanding the 10 Lib Dem abstentions and four votes against – was 65, greater than the number of Lib Dem MPs. So, pray tell, who from the Labour benches wanted this Bill to pass…?!

“Labour is the party of the NHS. But if Labour does not raise its game on opposing the Health and Social Care Bill it will lose this title; or worse, it may get the name of the party who failed to raise a finger to protect the NHS.”

Labour is not the party of the NHS any longer. This bill so far is merely an extension of the changes made in 2002 and 2006, and thanks to the Lib Dem intervention so far has also helped steer away from some of the more dubious anti-nhs practices Labour themselves set up. They’re probably not kicking up too much of a stink because actually it’s not a million miles away from what they wanted to do with the NHS, so they’ll stick to the more comfortable action of merely damning everything the government does as is the right of the party in opposition…regardless of how similar their stances are.

Labour could be re-elected at the next election on a huge majority if it exposed Lansley’s Bill and then campaigned against it.

Yes, if people forget entirely what Labour did do the NHS while in power, and what they proposed to do had they been re-elected.

See also Labour could be re-elected at the next election on a huge majority if it brought the economy under control, supported free speech and civil liberties, abolished tuition fees, withdrew British from abroad, etc

57 Lib Dem MPs. Four rebels, ten cowards and one, I believe, who voted for and against to show… something. And you want to accuse others of lack of faith? Maybe if one of the promised Lib Dem rebellions actually turns up we can argue about the numbers.

@CSClark – Stephen Gilbert MP walked through both lobbies to indicate that he was abstaining and not just recorded as absent – a standard procedure I understand.

Avoiding the issue of Labour’s complicity in these reforms is all very well, but I doubt very much it’ll serve you well in the long run.

10. the a&e charge nurse

At least Ed is on record as saying the bill should be junked – but maybe for the sort of reasons commentators have highlighted above Labour’s campaign against NHS reform (in it’s current guise) has been both low key and ineffective.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2011/apr/13/nhs-reforms-cameron-miliband-video

12. robert the crip

Which labour are you talking about Newer labour or Newer, Newer labour.

They do not mind the private sector

13. Hal Berstram

Great post, and well done to the Social Liberal Forum for attempting to be an effective opposition in the absence of anything resembling opposition from the Labour party. Next step for you SLF guys has to be to take Nick Clegg down, force an election and go to the country as the people who stopped the “ConDems”. You’d probably win a majority for the new Lib Dem leader. So GO FOR IT – you will have my vote if you can pull it off!

14. Charles Wheeler

You’re still suffering from the delusion that we live in a democracy. Once you rid yourself of this assumption, the world makes much more sense.

The NHS has provided us with an decent level of healthcare for decades, at a much lower cost than other developed countries (see OECD ‘quick glance’ for the most recent comparisons). Current spending @ around 8.5% compares with 17% in the US – and yet the current proposals move us steadily towards an insurance-based co-payment system, with GP consortia managed by health insurance companies with a foot in both commissioning and provisioning camps, being able to implement charges and re-define what constitutes ‘NHS’ treatment – with employment conditions and the distribution of profits being at their discretion. Meanwhile, the cap on private beds in trust hospitals is to be lifted – giving an added incentive if not an imperative to increase private treatments at the expense of longer NHS waiting lists – which in turn forces those who can to ‘choose’ the private sector.

So you just have to ask whose interests these changes serve? Certainly not the average patient, who will be paying more for less, nor those with pre-existing or chronic conditions, who can be rejected by GP consortia and left to the mercies of a cash-strapped local authority.

Those who benefit most will be the wealthy, who no longer have to subsidise the rest (and who happen to own, manage and edit our media outlets), politicians from both parties who have taken sinecures on the boards of the corporations who will be the biggest winners, and of course the private health companies currently lobbying the EU to rule state-run healthcare ‘anti-competitive’ – allowing them to take over the most profitable areas of healthcare and leave the more complex and costly procedures to an underfunded ‘NHS’ rump.

The fact that Labour drew more privatisation into our public services is of little use to anyone wanting opposition to this bill. Labour should be raising OUR OBJECTIONS to the Health and Social Care Bill. Most people do not want the NHS changed in this way, the coalition have absolutely no mandate from the people to do so. This is a totally illegitimate and undemocratic new law. NO party went to the electorate saying they would do this to the NHS and they know full well that a party who had done so would have been trashed at the polls. Labour – we want our NHS. You are the OFFICIAL OPPOSITION. RAISE YOUR GAME!

16. Leon Wolfeson

@6 – Really? I don’t see the NHS’s core principles having been abolished before. It’s something which only happens once, by it’s nature.

It seems the NHS handed out too many free lobotomies.

17. Sandra Ayres

I agree – the Labour response has been too restrained. It’s such an easy target – they should be making much more capital out of it.

Labour supports the NHS bill because the current plans are following on from their previous ruinious plans to undermine the health service. It’s a tragedy that none of any of the mainstream parties will come out in support of a wholly publicly-funded service.

16. It’s core principles aren’t being abandoned now either, this may be another reason Labour aren’t taking this particular line of attack too vocally, because it’s also not the truth.

20. Leon Wolfeson

@19 – So you’re saying that the Labour core values since ’79 have changed such they don’t support the NHS in it’s current form? Well, quite possibly.

If you mean the NHS’s core values…then you’re deluding yourself and trying to spread that delusion. Keep away, keep away!

21. the a&e charge nurse

[19] “it’s core principles aren’t being abandoned” – then you have failed to grasp the intentionality of this bill.

Some regard Allyson Pollock (author of NHS PLC) as one of the leading authorities when it comes to analysis of health apolitics – look at this;
http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/2011/09/interview-allyson-pollock-author-of-nhs-plc/

Pollock is yet another heavyweight warning that the Bill heralds the end of the NHS’s founding principles.
BTW, I notice you still seem unable to identify a single person (with any credibility) who supports Lansley’s proposals …….. outside of the corporate health giants, and yourself?

22. the a&e charge nurse

[19] what worries me is that if usually astute political observers like you have bought into Lansley’s vision I guess we have to accept such ignorance is probably mirrored in the general population, and is possibly widespread.

Look at this open letter to the Royal College Presidents regarding the
Health and Social Care Bill – “The Health and Social Care Bill builds on the market based policies of previous Governments, and poses an enormous threat to the NHS, medical professionalism, the doctor patient relationship, and ultimately patient care. It will put an end to the English NHS as a publicly funded, publicly provided, publicly accountable health service, which has served us so well for over 60 years and continues to do so. These reforms are not just another episodic
tinkering with the NHS, because independent expert legal opinion indicates that they will increase the likelihood of EU competition law being applied, which will effectively result in irreversible market based changes to the NHS.
http://www.nhsca.org.uk/docs/nhscarcp.pdf

I can’t help thinking that Labour’s muted opposition is attributable to the fact their health policy is largely indistinguishable from that of the coalition’s?

“Some regard Allyson Pollock (author of NHS PLC) as one of the leading authorities when it comes to analysis of health apolitics”

Based on that article, they shouldn’t.

“If you mean the NHS’s core values…then you’re deluding yourself and trying to spread that delusion. Keep away, keep away!”

The core principles, as far as I’m aware, are these:

that it meet the needs of everyone – This bill still does this
that it be free at the point of delivery – This bill still does this
that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay – This bill still does this

24. the a&e charge nurse

[23] now you are resorting to pantomime – “oh yes it is”, “oh no it isn’t” – you keep blithely assuming the bill is not a threat to the NHS’s founding principles – yet just everybody else worth their salt says the complete opposite (including respected figures like Pollock).

A number of sources have been supplied highlighting why this legislation is so dangerous – yet you continue with baseless contrarianism (which barely rises above the standard of “oh no it isn’t”).
Dismissing each source without any meaningful counter argument – what does that say about your level of insight into this matter?

For the third or fourth time now – who else can you cite who is cheering as loudly as you about Lansley’s bill ………. after all, I’m only asking for one name?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  2. johnabrams

    http://t.co/aNk5ilY the penny's dropped @sunny_hundal @libcon

  3. Lisa Egan

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  4. Carl Baker

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  5. Bleam

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  6. Sarah Jackson

    Where are Labour? RT @libcon Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/8rhYeho

  7. Prateek Buch

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? apt question from @richardblogger via @libcon http://t.co/LVUTWCK CC @gimpyblog

  8. malcolm

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  9. Nicola Chan

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  10. Alex Braithwaite

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/tCkQLbU via @libcon

  11. Pucci Dellanno

    Good question! RT @libcon: Where are Labour's objections to the #NHS bill? http://t.co/eICJqcq .@ed_miliband .@uklabour .@johnprescott

  12. tracy e

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/EEhecAd via @libcon

  13. Andy Saul

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  14. Oxford Kevin

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZFShjs2 via @libcon

  15. Nemesis Republic

    RT @libcon: Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/TjWG3hK

  16. Jill Hayward

    RT @libcon: Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/TjWG3hK

  17. Simon P. Hughes

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? apt question from @richardblogger via @libcon http://t.co/LVUTWCK CC @gimpyblog

  18. Andrew

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? apt question from @richardblogger via @libcon http://t.co/LVUTWCK CC @gimpyblog

  19. Ellie Mae O'Hagan

    @TheNatFantastic have you seen this? might be good to include in your letter http://t.co/fa8mzjv

  20. Dave Ludlam

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZFShjs2 via @libcon

  21. VeeBee

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  22. carboncoach

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZFShjs2 via @libcon

  23. Charlie Kiss

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZFShjs2 via @libcon

  24. K Naismith Robertson

    Where are Labour's objections to the NHS bill? http://t.co/BtgiH4G

  25. Samir Jeraj

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZFShjs2 via @libcon

  26. raincoat optimism

    Absolutely this ——-> http://t.co/Ivffe38 – Where are the Labour Party, the party of the #NHS ???

  27. Kat Dadswell

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? apt question from @richardblogger via @libcon http://t.co/LVUTWCK CC @gimpyblog

  28. Tom Stubbs

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? apt question from @richardblogger via @libcon http://t.co/LVUTWCK CC @gimpyblog

  29. Kat Dadswell

    Looks like Labour are jealous of the effect @DrEvanHarris and @soclibforum are having (via @prateekbuch) http://t.co/WqMnu8Q

  30. Steve Hynd

    Could you work out what @UKLabour opposition to the #NHS bill was? your not the only one http://t.co/BHiqZLX via@libcon #laboursilence

  31. Tracy Young

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  32. .

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  33. Martin Shovel

    RT @sunny_hundal: The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/MU3rizZ

  34. Peter Kenyon

    “@sunny_hundal: The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/oHeTRCM”<My branch agree

  35. Sean Gittins

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  36. malcolm

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  37. Michael H.

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/oWZsLPn via @libcon

  38. Alan Marshall

    RT @sunny_hundal: The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/D896fqe

  39. A M

    RT @sunny_hundal: The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/QncmnnI

  40. wolfst?r

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  41. Rory Hegarty

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  42. Abi O

    The Labour party really need to be more explicit about their objections to the NHS bill http://t.co/s1e2JCf

  43. Labour – Practising irresponsible politics since 2010 (and probably long before) |

    […] Dems to it. However, the difference in opposition strikes me, as pointed out by Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy today, where the Lib Dems have objected, they’ve listed their very precise objections and […]

  44. Sutton Coldfield CLP

    Labour should be doing more to oppose the dismantling of the #NHS : http://t.co/ffu2F9V

  45. Manish Puri

    Labour should be doing more to oppose the dismantling of the #NHS : http://t.co/ffu2F9V

  46. Chris Gibbons

    Where are Labour’s objections to the NHS bill? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/gkqIpiT via @libcon

  47. The Conservatives risk losing the conservatives | Contrasting Sounds

    […] the only one noticing this – two examples are found in pieces by John Harris in The Guardian and Richard Blogger on Liberal […]





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