Sunday, 3 April 2011

NHS reforms - is the Government finally thinking again?

We already know that swathes of health groups, medical professionals (including GPs) MPs (encompassing both opposition parliamentarians and members of the yellows and blues) and large numbers of the general public are opposed to the direction of Andrew Lansley's NHS reforms.

We also know that Cameron is getting jittery. Well, the Independent claims today that he is set to give Lansley the Spelman treatment and announce a rethink of the proposed reforms. A leading article in the same paper (which had previously given the Government the benefit of the doubt on the issue) argues that the path that the Health and Social Care Bill has taken "poses alarming questions about competence at the heart of government".

Meanwhile, David Owen has penned an excellent piece in the same newspaper, which he sums up as follows:

"It is a tragedy that the NHS is being subjected to this inept, ill-conceived and damaging legislation. It has to be drastically amended and given much greater scrutiny...Without such sustained scrutiny and a deliberate slowing down of the procedures, the NHS is heading for a train crash and David Cameron, as the train driver, and Nick Clegg, as his guard, will forever be held responsible".

If the Prime Minister is going to put a stop to Lansley's plans, then good. A 'u-turn' here may be of consequence to Westminster watchers (and indeed this does have political ramifications for the Government, not least the Lib Dems), but it pales into insignificance compared to the consequences for millions of British people of not re-thinking the plans as they stand.

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