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Lansley needs to watch his back because Cameron is working behind it

Posted on 31 March 2011 | 6:03am

I know it is wise not to believe everything you read in the papers, but if I were Andrew Lansley, I would not like what I see. There is enough around, as his officials will be muttering nervously to each other this morning, to suggest David Cameron is about to cut him adrift.
By this I do not mean that he faces the axe in the reshuffle, though it is not impossible. What I do mean is that the Prime Minister’s political instincts finally appear to be kicking in, and he is seeking to avert the car crash Lansley has inadvertently caused. A succession of ministers has already learned that the Prime Minister tends to let them get on with it, pays scant attention to detail during policy planning, but then finds he has to step in.
It is becoming harder and harder to find an expert voice or a vested interest (sometimes the two are combined) who thinks the non-mandated reforms will do anything other than real damage to healthcare. Cameron has had his jibe at the BMA as being just another trade union, but beneath the bravado, he is getting worried, and looking to make change.
Whether the change will be as radical as the change proposed by Lansley in the first place we have yet to see. But most people working in or using the NHS have good reason to hope so.

  • Peter Sadler

    In every government department the fundamental change appears to be to entrench Conservative dogma and doctrine but to dress this up as deficit busting. For departments with ring-fenced budgets SoS’s have more difficulty justifying their actions. Interestingly, none have attempted to address the costs and bureaucracy borne out of (their) central control and intense audit scrutiny which is inherent in our public services.

  • I hate Spin Doctors

    Taking Lectures from A Socialist on the NHS, that’s a joke. Its broken Campbell. it was broken before the election, and its still broken. Please dont treat those of us who work in the NHS, as idiots that dont know whats going on, No alternative I note in yiur blog, thats just Labour to a tee, the party of no alternative

  • crossdad
  • arresta

    Not just his back, also his wallet when all the “willing providers” want their money back.

  • Mark Hinchcliffe

    I feel I have to balance the comments left by ‘I Hate Spin Doctors’ below. As I also work in the NHS, have done for many years, and know that it is not broken.

    In fact there is good evidence that it is in better shape than it has been for years, although you may have missed the evidence here –

    In his recent white paper, Andrew Lansley said that he wanted a health service that was “professionally-led and focused on evidence”. I think it is time for him to listen to the professionals and their views on his reforms, and look at the evidence of a system that is doing a good job, before its too late.

  • Mark Hammond

    I bet this hasn’t helped

  • Robert Jackson

    I am of a generation of Brummies born in the 1940’s and 1950’s for whom an aged dying parent or grandparent being put in Western Road still strikes abject terror. That was the Western Road geriatric block dating from the 1800’s – revolutionary when built, no doubt, in the age of Florence Nightingale. Mom’s dad John Burley died in there in a dysentery outbreak in August 1964.

    That was at the fag end of a 13 year Tory government that had told us we’d never had it so good.

    There is no comparison whatsoever with Birmingham Heartlands where my mother Gladys passed away on 13th of this month. Heartlands is of a completely different order in its hygiene, staff, equipment. At no stage did the doctors give up on mom.

    My mother died with dignity, in cleanliness, quietly and without pain.

    Grandad died under a 13 year managed Conservative NHS in pain, squalour and stench in a hospital that simply could not cope and was unfit for purpose.

    Gladys died in a state of the art hospital built under this last Labour Government. Under an NHS still fit for purpose.

    Cameron, Osborne and Lansley are taking us back to the days of Western Road with open eyes and forked tongues.

  • Richard

    Paragraph 1 of the BMA Membership Benefits on their own website statesthat
    “As an independent trade union, the BMA is the voice for doctors and medical students in the UK.”
    Why do you insist on calling reference to this as being a jibe? Not like you to have a problem with callinga spade a spade.Sorry, forgot, still spinning, although nowadays in the dark.
    I know of Doctors who have resigned from the BMA because of it’s trade union role.
    The inefficiencies in the NHS are there for all to see. Ask any “front liner”, and they will tell you of the bureaucracy which stifles the whole industry.

    PS When you next see Dead Ed, take him to the maths class at you Dream School, and explain to him that 18 out of 23 is not “More than 80%”, as he insisted on PMQ’s. Labour Mathematics never will add up: in the hands of the dreadful Dead Ed it is lamentable. What a debater!

  • Anonymous

    The NHS is still very uneven and I have recent experience of this. But I can remember when the NHS was a lot worse. And I know, as everybody knows, that the proposals to fragment it will lead to money-making on a grand scale and an impoverishment of the service. The things that remain wrong with the NHS will not be corrected by Lansley’s proposals. The Conservatives are simply proposing to spend money – a lot of money – to push through privatisation.

    As for Cameron preparing to cut Lansley loose… Didn’t this start a while ago when Cameron made the disingenuous comment that the Cameron family was concerned about the NHS reforms? Blair’s trick was to position himself against his party. Cameron’s is to position himself against his ministers – useful when you don’t appear to know what they’re doing anyway.

  • Anna

    The NHS isn’t perfect and certainly needs some attention/revision but the satisfaction rate among patients of 84% is surely something to build on rather than destroy? Is it really wise to spend 90 billion on this untested project (dismantling?) of the NHS instead of directing funds, staff and training to areas where the NHS is weak – the care of the elderly with dementia etc. and the mentally ill, for example?

    I remember the days of the last Tory administration which almost destroyed the NHS. I speak personally here – and have done before – about the constrast between my husband’s appalling treatment under the Tories as a Parkinson’s patient and the superb care he has received since Labour’s funding came on stream. We’re getting on a bit and most of our friends are needing health care of some kind and we all say the same: the NHS under Labour has done us proud and we are grateful.

    Incidentally, Lansley’s negative comments about the NHS versus other countries are based on outdated figures: he did not include recent improvements in the treatment of many diseases.

  • Yann2k

    could we clarify broken??

    it appears that this fits in with the few, not the many analysis that the tories have engaged with since their inception:

    if more people than ever support it, and its costing us a fortune, it must be broken.

    it ain’t broken, but compared to the 80s and 90s its working just fine.

    drop the socialist thing; thinking people shouldn’t die on waiting lists isn’t socialist; its’ humanist

  • Steve Brundish

    The NHS was created by socialists the Tories have always put up with it (as Cameron is finding out) because the British people want the NHS. As far as idiots are concerned it’s only the Tory supporting NHS staff that need to try a few IQ tests. I know people who work in the NHS and the word chaos springs to mind when discussing the proposed changes. Alastair is right Cameron has finally realised that changes that will come back to haunt him at the next election are not such a great idea after all.

  • NHS lover

    little summary of lansley’s reform

  • arresta

    Clearly, if Labour failed in any area it would appear to have been in your education.

  • NHS lover

    Even the french media are talking about it ! what do you think alastair

  • Gailbrackett

    David Cameron’s so- called “listening period” for Lansley’s so-called reforms, is nothing but a cynical PR stunt. This government’s policy on NHS cuts is still full steam ahead. The Trust I work for has to make £70 million cuts over 2 years. I’ve just been made redundant from my NHS admin job after 12 years as the sole administrator in my dept. which provides pastoral and counselling care for vulnerable and terminally ill patients. A merger with the equivalvent dept in a similarly short staffed sister hospital is about to happen. With no administrative or secretarial support across two Trusts, patient care will tumble into chaotic crisis management and we think, become virtually unworkable. My colleagues are in despair. Everybody loses out and to say it won’t affect front line services defies credibility.