Andy Burnham on the next step of Labour’s NHS campaign

11th April, 2012 3:02 pm

Earlier this week I spoke briefly to Andy Burnham about the next step of Labour’s campaign against the coalition’s NHS reforms – this is what he had to say:

  • treborc1

    Well yes but labour has to hope the doctors and the nurses now act, and also enough GP’s respond otherwise the Tories have it.

    I have to say  it’s a great shame Burnham is not the leader of the Labour party, I suspect he’d give Cameron a real run for his money, and I think he would be able to unite the party, because right now it’s split.

    • Dave Postles

      A problem, Robert, is that NHS doctors are having a ballot about industrial action about changes to their pensions, which may lose them some sympathy ahead of any action which they take about the changes to the NHS.

  • Dave Postles
  • Jane lambert

    Whats the labour pledge on the NHS for local government then?

  • Dave Postles

    Supposition: suppose that the TRR indicates a high level of risk, but the government persists with the changes: cannot it be deemed to have acted ultra vires or recklessly or unreasonably?

  • Cally

    Still need to hear him say loud and clear that a labour government would repeal the bill and make any contracts made in the meantime null and void and without compensation. 

    • dave stone

      Ed Mili has said “We will repeal the free market, free-for-all principles in this bill. That is an absolute commitment.”

      This falls short of repealing the bill in its entirety. My understanding, derived from reading various shadow cabinet members’ speeches, is that Labour intend to differentiate themselves from the Tories by inserting ‘citizen entitlement guarantees’ as a form of regulation.
      However, the role of the state will be diminished and ‘reforms’ (i.e. marketisation) will continue, justified on the grounds of ‘delivering services in hard times'; so there’ll be no need to cancel contracts etc.

    • geedee0520

      Well of course he can’t say that as:

      – repealing the bill is technically OK but reversing all changes 3 years in is a very silly commitment to make. Some may be better!

      – null and voiding any contracts. So NHS contracts with (say) Philips for a scanner in 2013,  is this contract to be made null and void with no compensation? Or is it just contracts you disapprove of?

      – if you nationalise companies without compensation you are breaking EU law.

      • Dave Postles

        It’s surely not a matter of nationalization, but reallocation of public funding.  The companies involved (GP or otherwise) are simply sub-contractors.  Even with Hinchingbrooke, I believe that Circle has only a 10-year contract.  At the end of 10 years, would it simply be possible not to renew the contract and retrieve the hospital into public management?

        • geedee0520

          AFAIK once the contract has been completed (10 years in your example) then the purchaser can do as they please – so yes.

          But if you want to end the Circle contract early or make it null and void as suggested then IMHO – not without compensation. An option being nationalisation (often suggested) without compensation is illegal.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    There is a figure of 100,000 contracts being quoted – about 40,000 for GP practices, and the balance numerous small contracts between providers, companies, academia, industry from IT to clinical support, blood analysis, physiotherapy  and so on.

    Already, those contracts exist.  What will happen is that instead of the current 20,000 “NHS end” contractees (is that right? I think so), there will be perhaps 5,000 “NHS end” contractees as provisioning and contracting bodies aggregate upwards.

    To undo this bill entirely, you would need to recreate the existing NHS contractees on a 4:1 ratio.  So in simple terms it will be 4 times more difficult to undo as it is to do.

    I do not believe that will happen, once the civil servants on the DoH start running the reality checks.

    People seem exercised that it is a privatisation of the NHS.  It very simply is not.  Do not forget that GPs are already private businesses, as are all sorts of things like eye tests, wheelchair supply, prosthesis supply, monitoring and reporting on data gathered, dentistry, patient transfer services, even elements of emergency response.  What this is is an exercise in “rationalising” the Government end of great numbers of existing contracts.  Much of it is atomised to county level, and it is in that atomisation that inefficiencies occur.  If you have an accident and are hospitalised in a county away from your home, when you are well enough to be transferred from Darlington to Cambridge, do you really care if the transferring ambulance is from Darlington or Cambridgeshire, or even from Yorkshire?  Each of those ambulance services will be equally good, and none of them will charge you the patient.


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