Sunday 3 April 2011

The NHS - It's a jungle out there Cameron

As I said on this blog back in February and before, the NHS is not an animal Prime Ministers ought to underestimate:

In policy terms, the NHS is a lion, snoozing in the midday sun. It might look sleepy, it might seem unconcerned. You might be foolish enough to believe that it is cumbersome - lazy even, but you wake it at your peril. You won't win. Politicians never have been and never will be a match for NHS-lions. If you anger it or make it lame, you won't survive. It will gobble you up and spit you out, adding more politician bones to the sun-bleached pile of decades. 

It's been clear for some time that Lansley is a "Dead man Walking." It was only ever a matter of time before Cameron would have to step in with his earnest promises and hypnotic snake-eyes, reassssssuring us that all is sssssafe. The BMA, the RCN, GPs, patients and charities are all against his plans, with the BMA coming a hair away from a vote of no confidence in Lansley last month. 

Even the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil  monkeys of Clegg, Alexander and Huhne were urged by their conference to stop chattering amongst themselves and step up to protect the King.

According to the Independent this morning, next week, Cameron will announce a "pause" of up to three months in the progress of the bill through parliament. This will be :

"to allow for more time to reassure clinicians, patients and coalition MPs."

Take three months Mr Cameron, take three years if you will. When it comes to the NHS, we can sniff out rotten flesh at 100 paces. We are told that these plans took Lansley up to 8 years to put together. Three months won't persuade us to like them any more. The press-vultures are circling, ready to pick your policy bones clean - the longer you take, the more deadly they become. 

When even wily old crocs like Tebbitt and Owen step in to criticise their own, it's time to go back to the lodge and search out other prey. 

Law of the jungle Mr Cameron; survival of the fittest. If only you'd left the beast alone; protected it as you promised, it would have have no cause to gobble you up. As it is, it will be feasting on political capital for years. 


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  2. So how many U-turns does that make now?

    I suspect another on just down the road will be pensioners' heating bonuses. Like the NHS, pensioners and their “grey vote” can make a big difference to parties’ fortunes.

    From what I heard on the radio this morning The Times is suggesting that they may opt for a more voluntary affair, where GPs can take control of their own budgets, but equally have to right to stay exactly where they are.

    Can you imagine the confusion? Or the cost?

    I’ve wondered why they felt, at a time when we were so broke that even sick people had to be made to work, old people to freeze to death and politicians travel cattle class like ‘ordinary people’, that it was a good time to embark on a revolution with the English health service. Over the entirety of the piece it might save money, but in the early days it was bound to cost an arm and a leg (unfortunate, some would say, in the case of a health service).

    If the Times is right it won’t even save money in the long term. The health boards will have to remain and the doctors’ surgeries where they have opted out will require administrators, buyers, negotiators, administrators, etc, in addition.

    That’s what happens when you let a pile of posh boys, who know the price of things but not their value, play with things.

    BTW Sue, thanks for subscribing to Munguin’s Republic. Delighted to have you with us.

  3. Well said Sue, Camorons 3 month pause is to give time to get the May elections out of the way without the negative publicity from the disastrous NHS reforms giving people the impression he is protecting the NHS where in fact it will be back to the smoke and mirrors and the "deforms" will soon be back on track.

  4. Aah Haa, the lady wasn't for turning....but this lot, well!

    well said as ever Sue.

  5. While i agree with your point wholeheartedly, i don't suspect that there will be much of the NHS left when we get to vote again, 3 and a half years is a long time to rip the nhs to bits and sell it off to the highest bidder (and knowing the tories this will mean highest as in who has the highest connections)

  6. For a moment there I though you were going to give Cameron a bit of credit for listening to criticism and "pausing" the bill… but alas, I was disappointed. :)

    There needs to be changes in the NHS. You'd have to be quite stubborn to disagree with that. I have read Sue's blog and the subsequent comments regularly enough to know that there are issues at every level of the health service - yet people are screaming for it to be protected?

    People aren't getting good care and service but don't seem to want it changed.

    I don't get it…

  7. The reason this overhaul plan of the NHS failed was because it made no sense whatsoever the people of country didn't even understand it

    Like everything the conservatives try to achieve they must still think the public are idiots

  8. U-turns aren't a problem. It's the poisonous culture that makes politicians refuse to admit mistakes whether they U-turn or not. I remember isolated cases in the past where ministers have resigned and stated frankly they weren't up to the job and gained respect for it, or admitted they didn't know something or admitted they had been wrong and in all of those cases they became much more respectable.

    I do not understand why they do not routinely make U-turns and be honest about why they are doing so. They seem to confess 'mistakes' over things that are irrelevant or were non-existent (such as Labour, the most hostile government to benefit claims than any before, playing to the tabloid myths about them and saying they left it too late to 'get tough on scroungers'). But there's no respect in those overtly tactical manoeuvres.

    Still waiting for one minister in this government to impress me.

  9. Ooh, I've got one. That Andrew whats-is-name..... Mitchell, the international aid guy. He's seemed to actually do a very good job so far.

    I probably only think that because he hasn't been remotely Tory though.