Andrew Lansley heckled by June Hautot in NHS protest

 

Mr Lansley was heckled by a protester who refused to let him pass

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David Cameron has said there "are a few myths we need to bust" and pledged to push ahead with his NHS changes after his health secretary was heckled and jostled outside Downing Street.

Andrew Lansley was greeted with shouts of "shame" as he headed for a meeting inside No 10 about the NHS.

After the meeting, the prime minister said reform was "never easy".

Groups including the British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing say they have been excluded.

Proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill include giving GPs control of much of the NHS budget and opening up the health service to greater competition from the private and voluntary sector. These have proved controversial.

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.

'Not sensible'

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(BMA), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Midwives, are also among those who want it to be withdrawn.

The government said the Downing Street meeting was designed for those "constructively engaged in implementing the modernisation".

The NHS protester

Andrew Lansley and June Hautot

Andrew Lansley was confronted about the NHS by June Hautot. Ms Hautot is 75 and a retired NHS union rep. She is from Tooting in south London Here are excerpts of their exchange:

Hautot: "The waiting lists are going to go up, so you can wait"

Lansley: "I promise you waiting times in the NHS are coming down, it will not go private"

Hautot: "I've had enough of you and Cameron. Are you going to go home?"

Lansley: "The NHS is not for sale, there will be no privatisation."

Hautot: "Codswallop, you've been privatising since 1979. Don't you dare lie to me"

Lansley: "1979?"

As he arrived, Mr Lansley was shouted at by several protesters waiting by the gates of Downing Street.

One woman, June Hautot, a former Unison rep, barred his way, telling the health secretary: "I'm not getting out of the way."

Mr Lansley told her that the NHS was not being privatised and said waiting lists were down.

She also appeared to prod Mr Lansley, who was forced to walk around her to get to a gate to enter Downing Street.

Afterwards, Mr Lansley described the confrontation as "sticks and stones" and insisted he was determined to stick with the planned reforms.

Speaking after the incident, Ms Hautot told the BBC: "The NHS is supposed to be from cradle to grave. It doesn't matter who's in power; we're here to save the NHS."

Another protester, London GP Louise Perkins, said: "Cameron is misrepresenting us by saying he has GP support. He doesn't. You could get the number of supporters into a telephone booth."

Asked about the protest after the meeting, the PM said: "Reform is never easy, but it is vital to reform our NHS because I want it to be there looking after every family in the country and doing a good job into the future.

"We had a constructive and helpful meeting and what's clear is that there are quite a few myths that we need to bust about this reform.

"Choice for patients is a good thing: making sure that GPs, not bureaucrats, are making decisions, that's a good thing.

"So there are myths we need to bust, but I also heard how, on the ground, where some of the reforms are already taking place, you are actually seeing better health outcomes, GPs doing more things for their patients, people living healthier lives as a result of these changes."

During a visit to a hospital in Romford, north London, later in the day, Mr Lansley said his door was "always open" to groups like the BMA and the RCN who were not invited to the earlier meeting.

WHO WENT AND WHO DID NOT

ATTENDED:

  • NHS Confederation
  • Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Royal College of Physicians of London
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • NHS Alliance
  • Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
  • National Voices
  • National Association of Primary Care

DID NOT ATTEND:

  • British Medical Association
  • Royal College of GPs
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • College of Occupational Therapists
  • Royal College of Midwives
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Unison
  • Unite

Earlier Peter Carter, from the RCN, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We really don't think it's a sensible way forward to think that you can have a meeting which has been called an emergency summit to take things forward without involving many of the key organisations that are intrinsic to making sure the NHS is successful."

In a statement on the meeting, the British Medical Association said: "It would seem odd if the major bodies representing health professionals were not included."

And Sarah Gorton, the senior national officer for health at the public sector union Unison, said: "Health workers should have their voices heard when major changes to the health service are being discussed."

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister had no plans to meet health groups opposed to the NHS changes, but added that he was "listening to health professionals about how we can implement the reforms we have set out".

He said the government had held "countless meetings with health professionals and would continue to do so".

At the meeting the prime minister was expected to point to evidence that emergency hospital admissions had fallen year-on-year for the first time.

Andrew Lansley: "Privatisation is no part of our plans for the NHS"

Department of Health figures show a 0.5% decline in 2011, compared with a 36% increase between 2001 and 2010.

The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent, Norman Smith, said the government felt the time for "tweaking, amending and altering" the health bill was over and that there was no point continuing to "talk to those health groups they felt were pretty much decided against the changes".

Labour opposes the bill and party leader Ed Miliband said: "This bunker mentality is the wrong way to run the NHS...

"It's not too late to start listening to the doctors, the nurses and the midwives. It's not too late to listen to patients."

 

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  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 406.

    My daughter has had 2 heart operations in the past 2 months (since Birth) and is being cared for by the NHS @ Brompton. If Cameron could see the NHS at its very finest, he'd not want to change a thing. Maybe he forgets his son was treated by likewise professionals. I'm so proud of the NHS and grateful, to see it privatised and focus on profit would be a heartbreaking.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 405.

    I hope that David Cameron is not including Scotland's (rather superior) version of the NHS in his chatter.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 404.

    352 Movinon

    So you missed out on the management consultancy scams of the 90s, into the 2000s? That wiped out the Marconi company? But this is what Lansley proposes to reintroduce! This is not innovation - it is a blatant return to the ideas of F.W. Taylor - if it fails, it is never management's fault - the plan is perfect! And Deming's points are still relevant today!

  • rate this
    -24

    Comment number 403.

    The NHS should be drastically cut back. Currently, a sprawling, comprehensive but mediocre service is afforded to all, with a massive bill footed by the hard working taxpayer. I would like to see a high quality service for taxpayers and their families, and a basic, cut-back service for scroungers and criminals.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 402.

    I just have to ask; is anybody actually surprised?

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 401.

    @29 (who is an American living in the UK): I agree wholeheartedly - having experienced the US and the UK health systems I strongly prefer the UK's. I think people in the UK sometimes underestimate the massive bureaucracy required for hybrid public/private systems, and the degree to which privates companies exploit taxpayers when they gain access to public funds. The UK 'reforms' are a bad idea.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 400.

    To use an inflammatory phrase:

    'Calm down dears'

    Why should everyone with an opinion be invited to every meeting about everything. I'm an NHS patient (the entire point of the NHS despite the fact that many NHS employees believe it is there for their personal benefit) and I'm not invited.

    The bill may be a pile of dung, but for goodness sake try to maintain some perspective.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 399.

    "Prophaniti
    LOL I love seeing the lefties upset first thing on a monday morning, gets shot of those monday blues for me. ;-)"

    Based on an earlier post of yours I assume your definition of "lefties" is those people whose opinions are based upon factual information rather than those whose opinions aren't (eg someone who doesn't know the difference between GDP and public spending).

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 398.

    "385.Prophaniti

    LOL I love seeing the lefties upset first thing on a monday morning, gets shot of those monday blues for me. ;-)"

    What a saddo.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 397.

    Strange how the Tories can fail to clamp down on banks and want to introduce private health firms into the NHS, both moves which are meeting more opposition each day, but then one just has to look at who is on their party's board and who funded them at the last election.

    At least Labour acknowledge links with the unions.

    Guess the Sun on Sunday's proprietor will be nipping into No10 again soon.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 396.

    Whilst I think the NHS needs reform, why oh why are we looking to a worse model who pay MORE for medication, have MANY people WITHOUT HEALTHCARE and have LESS medical staff per thousand people?! DOES NOT COMPUTE!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 395.

    380. You
    Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules.
    Whoops, I'm usually very careful about such things (OT). (Sackcloth and ashes on order)
    371. Susan
    #347 – Och it’s ok, I just tire easily and the leetle grey cells toddle off for a wander.

    I can see we both want the best NHS possible, but just can't agree what it is. Makes for interesting debate.

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 394.

    Would the Tories and LibDems 'won' the General Election had they been honest about their plans for the NHS? Of course not.

    Cameron's 'Safe in our Hands' is about as true as 'We are all in it together'.

    They are making a farce of democracy.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 393.

    Well, nothing new then The PM does not want to listen to the professionals and those who are yes men. Democracy in Action eh?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 392.

    In an emergency it's the NHS, private hospitals just ring 999 like everyone else.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 391.

    The coalition are showing their true colours already; kill the NHS, demonise all on benefits even the terminally ill & most severely disabled in the country. However the millionaire bankers, wealthy tax evaders & the like can do no wrong in their eyes.The only way to turn this round is by voting this dreadful dishonest shower out at the next election.
    But who to take their place??

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 390.

    381. frankiecrisp
    358.Total Mass Retain

    . Do you want to pay significantly more taxes for a system like France's?

    Yes. In France nobody gets turned away
    ====

    You're oh so wrong in your assumptions about the French health system. It can't cope with the demand of the poor and unless you a lot pay extra then tant pis as they say in France.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 389.

    Your GP knows very well the health care YOU need NOW.

    Your GP in consortium with 70 to 100 others hasn't any better idea of the health care needs of all their patients in the coming year than the PCT. In fact, the PCT's staff will have to be employed by the GPs to tell them what the needs will be.

    Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 388.

    All health systems worldwide struggle to match almost infinite demand with finite resources and ration in some way. The NHS rations by queues. France by requiring insurance excesses and aptient contributions; the US by insurance and not covering the poor and those who are high health risks.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 387.

    This meeting is yet another "fixed" talking shop to instruct all the NHS reform supporters to go out and preach the Condem,s Governments gospel on NHS changes to the sleepwalking public ,and close their ears to the mounting public concern over these reforms ,We should remember that the Conservative party has never been to friendly to the NHS ,AFTER ALL IT WAS NOT THEIR IDEA ,so pull it down.

 

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