Tuesday, 10 May 2011

John Pugh on Health 'reforms'

Southport John Pugh was appointed chair of the Lib Dem backbench committee on Health back in June 2010. He immediately set out to find the views of party members about Lansley's views writing on the 14th July he asked Lib Dem Voice readers for feedback observing :

  • Is the NHS ready for another structural upheaval/reform?
  • How will GPs cope with their new role?
  • And are we going to get a local NHS which is more accountable to the citizen and tax payer?
  • Will the NHS work better for the patient without PCTs and Regional Health Authorities?
  • Can we make progress without these changes ?

John also sought the views of others with knowledge and interest in the health service. It was not long before he began to express a clear critique of the reforms. He has raised his concerns and played a central part in the motion to the Lib Dem party Conference on the changes Lansley was promoting.

I give this little history lesson as there are some folk who who are seeking to promote the false impression that Lib Dems approved of the reforms. It is clear from the beginning that the party at large did not take that view and that if anyone had paused to ask they would have received the same feedback as John got.

Things have moved on. The 'reforms' have been on hold for a while and yesterday their was a debate in the Commons.  The Liverpool Daily Post carries a report this morning:

 The Southport MP turned up the heat over the controversial Health Bill by accusing his own party leader of not realising the implications of opening up the NHS to competition from the private sector.
The comments came as Dr Pugh warned the Bill must be dumped if it cannot be significantly improved, saying: “Unless it gets radical, surgical treatment than it shouldn’t go through.”
Increasingly, other Lib- Dem MPs – and even some Conservatives – are echoing Dr Pugh’s warning that the Bill threatens “chaos and confusion” if it goes ahead.

the report continues:

Dr Pugh repeated his criticisms of “a flawed piece of legislation”, highlighting:
The need for GPs to be helped by people with “expertise” in commissioning care;
The need for “democratic accountability”, from elected local councillors;
The danger of market competition leading to “fragmentation of the NHS”.

The party has clearly identified the foolishness of the competition monitor being set up with no regard to the need for co-operation and integration between providers.

Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander were meant to have checked out the proposals before they were issued. Alexander is a Scots MP and as such does not have a role in looking after health for his constituents-it is a responsibility of the Holyrood parliament.

I have felt for a while now that our Scots colleagues could do with the services of a bright young Highland MP to help rebuild their fortunes. No doubt if David Laws is rehabilitated Mr Alexander will do the decent thing 

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