"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Burning your bridges

Burning your bridges: the allusion is that you continue on regardless and remove any chance of reversal, or taking any other route. This is the NHS we are in.

It is well known that re-organisations are destabilising and costly and it is no wonder that the Conservatives - desperate to dupe anyone into voting for them - would promise "no more top-down re-organisation" before the last election. Yet we have one now. The most damaging, far reaching, re-organisation ever. A re-organisation that is untested. A re-organisation that may well fail. At the next election there will be a clamour for a re-organisation, one that will restore the service destroyed by Lansley.

Health Service Journal reports:
A briefing on the first meeting of the NHS Future Forum last week, seen by HSJ, says there was “a strong mood in favour of the report recommending ‘no more top down reorganisations’”. 
This strong mood existed before the government started its latest re-organisation, even after promising that there would be no more re-organisations (perhaps Lansley and Cameron missed out the clause "after this one" in their pledge) . However, the Forum apparently believe:
proposing “no more top down reorganisations” was unlikely to stop the current changes. That is because they are already underway, and the group has been told to recommend “improvements” to current plans rather than suggest scrapping them. 
So rather than recognising the damage currently being inflicted on the NHS and recommending that they are stopped, Lansley's hand-picked, blinkered forum members are recommending that all bridges are burned as the re-organisation progresses:
National Voices chief executive Jeremy Taylor said it could still call for all political parties to commit to no further reorganisations in future. 
Taylor should stop and think. It is the people of this country who vote, and if the people of this country wants the NHS restored to a well-funded system, providing comprehensive universal healthcare then political parties (and I hope the Labour party) will find it hard to ignore that demand. It is called democracy.

If I were Miliband or Healey, I would not agree to any pledge of "no more top-down re-organisations", instead I would make the far stronger political point of pledging to maintain the NHS as a publicly funded, publicly accountable, comprehensive, universal system and to pledge to do everything necessary to achieve that. Taylor wants political parties to pledge to maintain the status quo after Lansley has ruined our NHS, there is little chance the public will want the system Lansley will leave, and so there is little chance that parties will to keep it.

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