NHS changes: Critics 'not invited' to PM's meeting

 
David Cameron addresses staff at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on 6 April 2011 The prime minister is convinced that changes to the NHS are needed

Some of the fiercest critics of the planned NHS reforms in England say they have not been invited to a meeting about the changes with David Cameron.

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing, which want the bill to be withdrawn, say they have not been asked to Monday's event.

Labour leader Ed Miliband accused Mr Cameron of failing to listen to the experts.

Downing Street would not disclose who had been invited to the meeting.

A spokeswoman said only that it was "a range of national healthcare organisations and clinical commissioning groups".

The BMA said in a statement: "If there is such an event, it would seem odd if the major bodies representing health professionals were not included."

The prime minister is insisting he will press ahead with the reforms despite widespread criticism.

Under the proposals, family doctors will have more control over their budgets and there will be a greater role for the private sector.

Dr Clare Gerada, Royal College of GPs: "Not to invite us... I'm very surprised"

But the government has had difficulties getting the bill through the House of Lords and - despite offering more than 100 concessions - still faces strong opposition.

Among the bodies calling for the bill to be withdrawn is the Royal College of Nursing, which said it was not aware of having received an invitation to Monday's meeting.

The Royal College of GPs also says it is not invited, which its chairwoman, Clare Gerada, said was a great shame given it represented the largest body of GPs in England.

'Work together'

She said: "I'm surprised because at this sort of time we need to work together.

"We've all got to work together to make the NHS better and whatever happens to these reforms, we have to work to make sure our patients continue to get a very good service from their health care."

A controversial bill

  • The Health and Social Care Bill is one of the flagship pieces of legislation from the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government
  • GPs and other clinicians are to be given much more responsibility for NHS spending in England and greater competition with the private sector encouraged
  • The plans were put on hold last spring after opposition from MPs and peers. Labour warned of privatisation at the expense of patient care.
  • After a "listening exercise" some changes were made and the revised bill cleared its next Commons stage
  • But when the bill was in the Lords before Christmas it faced mounting opposition and the royal colleges of nurses and midwives joined those who opposed the bill outright
  • Labour is calling for the bill to be dropped, but a series of fresh amendments have been put forward aimed at tackling critics' concerns

Mr Miliband said at the Welsh Labour conference: "You don't get progress on the NHS by shutting the door of Downing Street on doctors, nurses and patients' groups. It's not the actions of a prime minister to exclude from an NHS meeting the people who are the experts on the health service."

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "This has all the hallmarks of an event thrown together in a last-ditch desperate bid to shore up collapsing support for the bill."

He suggested the prime minister had snubbed some of the groups because he "wouldn't like what they've got to say".

However, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "This forms part of the government's ongoing dialogue with health practitioners about the implementation of these reforms."

On Friday, members of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health joined several Royal Medical Colleges, including the Royal College of GPs, in calling for the bill to be scrapped.

Unions, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives are among those who also want it to be withdrawn.

Earlier this week Downing Street insisted ministers were fully behind the reforms and rejected suggestions that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be sacked.

Mr Cameron said on Sunday he strongly supported the founding principles of the NHS, including "health care for all, free at the point of use, unrelated to the ability to pay".

More than 142,000 people, including footballer Rio Ferdinand, have signed an e-petition calling for the bill to be dropped.

 

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 301.

    If the reforms go ahead are we looking at a commission led NHS where Doctors receive commissions for referring patients to consultants and treatments?

    Surely this would put costs up, make the better off better off, increase the general tax burden on everyone and create a profit led NHS?

    Surely the real problem in the NHS is costs which comes down to excessive pay in key areas?

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 300.

    If the BBC doesn't give equal prominence to pro and anti reform views, the conservative party say the BBC is biased.
    I think some of the reforms make sense, but could have been done without the top down re-organisation. I don't really care about 'choice' I want my local hospital to be good - which is what i feel cameron doesn't understand or care about.

  • rate this
    -13

    Comment number 299.

    At the risk of having bricks thrown at me I have to admit that I think the NHS is in serious need of reform. The layers of "management" that have been added by successive governments all in the interests of 'efficiency' in reality in the interests of the politicians having the illusion of control.
    This has resulted in the ultimate insanity of the NHS having marketing managers!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 298.

    its easy to support this bill when youve no doubt got bupa cover, i love the fact in my hour of pain and need i can go to A&E or an emergency dentist, or get a doctor out at 2am, savings need to be made, so start at the top.get rid of the office jockeys and get people to sign waivers

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 297.

    This was it:

    "If we all sign this - http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670 we can beat the record 258,228 signatures on an e-petition.

    It may seem like nothing but the more signatures the bigger the pressure."

    Moderator - seriously? Have a think.

  • rate this
    +68

    Comment number 296.

    As medical doctor, once I'm again left gob smacked by the coalition government attitudes towards NHS staff + our governing bodies. We've worked in the NHS for many yrs now + know what it takes to keep it going. To be denied a voice on the biggest change since the NHS started in 1948 is disloyal to those of us who have worked hard + given up free time to make the NHS possible. We just want our say

  • Comment number 295.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 294.

    Three cheers for the 'Listening Government'!!! True Toryism in action, and a very Liberal Democrat way of behaving. As they say at football matches "you only sing when you're winning".

  • Comment number 293.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 292.

    @266,

    When people 'assume' that the NHS is 'inefficient' (relative term), they are ignoring a lot of facts.

    When people assume reform is a good thing, without looking at the detail.. I didn't assume your 'are' right wing.

    However, a lack of research on your part. I have suggested alternatives, on previous HYS.

    Matrons, reduced 'admin', separate gvt and NHS, are but the highlights.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 291.

    Trust is key, if ther's no trust in politicians and political process, what is the point in participating or having faith in any outcome.

    Scotland has rejected tory politicans like cameron, large part due to fact tories cannot be trusted with the NHS.

    tories and other unionist parties are mistrusted in Scotland, large part due to fact they cannot be trusted to put Scotland first.

    C McK

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 290.

    Not really a surprise that Cameron has excluded the experts but then he doesn't need them as he is an expert in everything. Such arrogance will come at a cost and I can see the electorate of this country having a really good look at the Coalitions record in the run up to the next election. The NHS needs to be reformed but not by those with only self interest on the agenda.

  • Comment number 289.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 288.

    If you think Number 10 should ask those they have not, write to Dowining street and say so, not to the BBC who can only report, not act.
    www.number10.go.uk/contact-us

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 287.

    If this terrible NHS destroying bill is allowed to go through, then the Liberal Democrats will not only be dead but buried. Clegg will be the first LD leader who sold his soul to sit on the Government benches banishing his party to the fringe for a generation

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 286.

    "Critics 'not invited' to PM's meeting"

    So who will be there? Lansley and his American sponsors? Those with vested interests? It's this sort of Blairesque sham 'consultation' that breeds utter contempt for politicians, of whatever party.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 285.

    I'm always amazed at these NHS experts/Critics over any reforms whatsoever.
    Where have they been over the years when private drug, equipment, & Utility suppliers have been ripping off the NHS with overpriced supplies..now because they feel threatened they open their mouths....stinks of job protection.
    if they had flagged the issues of waste years ago, perhaps drastic reforms would not be needed

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 284.

    Interesting...I just had a comment removed which posted the link to the e-petition mentioned in the article and already posted several times by others on this forum. The reason I was given was it was "off topic".

    Has the moderator got a hangover? Has David Cameron burst into your office insisting you remove some of the critical comments? I'd appreciate a proper explanation please.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 283.

    Labour overspent by sending NHS patients to Private hospitals to keep the waiting lists down, i know i had my op at a private hosp paid by the NHS. Thats where alot of the extra money in the NHS was used for,so there has to be changes.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 282.

    The reforms will not reduce management overhead, they increase it! The commissioning bodies will need an extra layer of contract monkeys to handle liability for each service contract placed, as will the service providers. This is jobs for the Tory boys - we need fewer key tappers and chair polishers - not more. Read the bill!

 

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