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Asian Voice Column: The NHS Shambles

Government’s NHS Proposals In Shambles




The Health and Social Care Bill, a big gamble and privatisation proposal of our National Health Serv ice, since its conception has met with growing criticism and been a complete shambles. Mounting criticism from all sectors recently forced the coalition government in announcing a so called ‘listening exercise’  which ended this week.

At the heart of the Government both Andrew Lansley the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister are determined to plough ahead in the face of widespread criticism. It is for these reasons there’s been no confidence in the so called listening exercise. A recent You Gov poll promoted by 38 Degrees members found that 95% of the public have no idea how to get involved in the listening exercise and only one in five think Lansley is genuinely interested in listening. Many more suspect that the “listening exercise” is at best what Dr Hamish Meldrum of the BMA describes ”a political device”, and at worst a sham. The dissatisfaction about the new consultation continues to be wide ranging and this includes the trade unions, professional bodies, health charities and patient groups who are deeply concerned about the direction of Andrew Lansley’s NHS plans. It is insulting for the Mr Lansley to rubbish genuine concerns as misunderstanding, or a “storm in a teacup”. The British Medical Association has been scathing on this issue saying “It’s rather ironic that on one hand the Secretary of State says his proposals are there to give doctors more say, more involvement, to listen to them and to let them run the service, and yet when we tell them his plans aren’t working, he doesn’t seem to want to hear what we’re saying.” The British Medical Association has called for a series of changes to the proposals and warned that the entire Health and Social Care Bill may need to be withdrawn.

As reported in my prevous writeups in Asian Voice,  London Assembly’s Health and Public Sevices committee of which I’m Deputy Chair,  has scrutinised the health reforms together with the changes in Public Health and raised its concerns on the issues concening governance and impact on London. I am of a firm view that the listening exercise now conclded is no more than public relations exervice on the part of both  Tories and LibDems in Government and they will eventually force through the proposals which are part of the Coalition Government’s masterplan to attack the welfare state and privatisation agenda for which they have no mendate from people of this country. This is an attack on the most vulnerable in our society and I condemn both parties in the Government.