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PMQs blows underline importance of Tory NHS rehabilitation mission

9 January 2013

While Ed Miliband wasn’t exactly Mr Pugnacious today at PMQs, one of his better blows was when he read out the promise in the Coalition Agreement to ‘stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS’ and asked whether that would be on a list of broken promises in the audit of government achievements. Labour always sees the NHS as an easy way to score points now that the government’s hard-won credibility has been scuppered by the Health and Social Care Act, and naturally Miliband roused some cheers from his MPs.

James argued back in December that it is now impossible to have a mature conversation about the NHS. Indeed, the Tories are now to the health service what Tesco is to nice-looking coffee shops: a combination that arouses suspicion, whether or not it is warranted.

It is for this reason that Jeremy Hunt’s clear mission to be a ‘patients’ champion’ by strongly condemning poor standards of care in hospitals is so important: the party needs to move on from the Health and Social Care Act. The anticipatory coverage of Sir Robert Francis’ report on Stafford Hospital has already attacked Labour’s target-driven culture, and as Tim Montgomerie argued recently in the Times, Jeremy Hunt’s response to this report is essential as a renewal of Tory NHS vows. That report is due towards the end of this month or the start of the next, and it will be a pivotal moment for the Conservatives in their quest to claw back Labour’s poll lead on the NHS.

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  • emiller7

    National health service

    • 2trueblue

      Ration al Health Service more likely.

  • emiller7

    If ever an organization needed a top down reorganization its the bus!

  • barbie

    Lets be clear its not only the NHS but the new consortium of GPs we should be looking at. As I understand it they will now have purchasing powers for care etc. Where we live they have stopped providing glucose testing strips for type 2 diabetes patients, they now have to buy them @ £25.90p for 50. If you take insulin they remain free. They are supposed to rely on three monthly blood tests to control blood glucose, but of course many will fail. This will mean many will require more health treatment within the NHS costing more money, so the decision is not cost effective. It does not take into account the income of the patients at all, many are pensioners who have limited income for such an expensive item. Some have already complained to their MP who is a Conservative and are waiting to see the response. Pensioners should have free presciptions but in this case they are not getting this item for free.
    This is just the start of the cost cutting exercises within the NHS, so we should be wary of Conservatives telling us they want good care within the NHS, they are conning us, and telling large porkies. They are being revealed as the ‘nasty party’ by the day, the shadow of this name is now upon them, we will not be fooled by them anymore.

  • realfish

    So, Stafford, Redditch and other NHS failures tell us that the NHS was fit for purpose and not in need of significant reform?

    Rather than landing a blow, Miliband should be explaining what went wrong in the Labour years and why he made such a serious error of judgement in appointing Burnham to the shadow health role while his decisions were the subject of scrutiny at the Stafford public inquiry.
    For years Labour created a firewall around Its sacred cows, like the NHS, the welfare state, immigration, education. Criticism simply wasn’t allowed, people were (and still are) shouted down by the left and were afraid to demand more at places like Stafford. That’s why abuses occurred. Labour facilitated that culture.

    That firewall is beginning to crumble, and its clear that more and more patients and their families are seeing the NHS not as a national treasure but for what it is – not fit for purpose. People deserve better, this is an argument that the Tories can win.

    • barbie

      I hope if you need it, its there to serve you, or do you have private cover? Many don’t or couldn’t afford it. That’s the reality of life. Its served my family well on many occasions, and saved my life. I recently broke my ankle and from the time I was put into an ambulance and in a hospital bed it was three hours, and that includes surgery. Who’s complaining it works when it has to.

      • realfish

        Yes. It worked for my family, also…at least the emergency treatment did having first of all refused to be taken to Stafford DG. Beyond that we got caught up in the NHS ‘get what your given’ sausage machine. Excellent to adequate to indifferent nursing; a radiographer who refused to x-ray an obviously damaged left leg with a cat c compound fracture – because the Dr had written ‘right leg’ on the x-ray slip (go back and ask him to fill in another form, we were told), huge waiting times at outpatients. And plenty of staff hanging around (one clearly p’eed off when dragged away from her puzzle book to tend to an old man in need of help).

        You actually make my point Barbie, we’ve both had some good experiences. You might be ‘alright jack’, good for you – but the 800 to 1200 people who ‘unnecessarily’ died at Stafford, and their families may not share your complacency. For their sake we have a duty to demand better.

  • Paddy

    Haven’t you noticed Isabel that we can’t even be bothered to comment……such is the immaturity of the debate.

  • toco10

    Multi millionaire Red Ed who inherited ‘loads of money’ and lives in a circa £3 million house should be ashamed for himself and the dysfunctional Labour Government of which he was an integral part for creating an NHS shambles which the Coalition are in the process of sorting out to good effect.

  • Russell

    Labour Ministers should be in jail for what they did to the NHS during their 13 years in office, and the labour party sued by the relatives of all those killed by lack of care as a result of labours tick box target policies applied to every area of government.
    Miliband should shut his mouth wrt the NHS, same as Burnham, they were a disgrace.
    Not everyone shares Isobels view of labour (thank God).

    • 2trueblue

      Turning it around will take a long time and during that time the present government will be blamed for the hangover left by Liebore. It is a mess and most of us know someone or personally have suffered from the lack of care. In emergencies it usually delivers but from the GP to seeing someone, or being admitted and receiving care it is roulette.

    • telemachus

      Labour gave us decent access and reasonable waiting lists for the first time in decades
      This is now being destroyed

  • Chris lancashire

    High time that the NHS was removed from being a political football. The Government’s role should be reduced to that of co-funder as it is in most European countries where the type of juvenile discussion we have here isn’t even raised.

    • barbie

      You make a good point, you have Labour spending far to much and allowing all and sundry to use our NHS and don’t pay, Conservatives now do the same. The present lot will make one pay for all services before long, and the sick will be left to defend themselves.Is this what we really want, I don’t think so while they spend 11 billion on foreign aid, and 55 million on health tourists. All are complicit in cheating this nation, its change we need urgently.

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