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'Health bill opposition is not about pensions'


So the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have decided that enough is enough and it’s time to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill.

Cue the government trying to deflect the RCN’s criticism by claiming that the college is only concerned about its members’ pay and pensions and is not thinking of the patients. I hardly think so.

The RCN didn’t vote to take a day of action on November 30, and it is balloting members on whether to accept the latest pension proposals next month. It has tried hard to negotiate on this clearly separate issue. It’s unfair to suggest everything the RCN is now saying regarding the bill is about the personal agenda of nurses.

And it’s also been pretty clear that the RCN has long been concerned about the damage this bill would do to the NHS. Its Frontline First campaign has monitored closely what is happening to trusts and shown how the current climate is harming services.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter has given many speeches emphasising the importance of nurses redesigning services to help meet the Nicholson Challenge. And the RCN has tried to work closely with the government to effect change in the bill. After making little headway with the collaborative approach it has now decided to adopt more extreme measures.

Nurses are concerned the NHS is being dismantled. They love the NHS, believe in it and want to protect it. They are also concerned about the way the changes are being introduced - many before the bill becomes law, and their potential effects on care.

So don’t go on the defensive, Mr Lansley. Actually listen to the nurses who work in and care about this service, and don’t dismiss their attempts to save the NHS as self-serving nonsense. Because it isn’t.

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Chat live with the editor and other nurses at every Wednesdayat 1pm about this column


Readers' comments (13)

  • "Peter Carter has given many speeches....."
    where? Tibet? New Zealand?
    His profile in the media and press is lower than a worms bottom.

    As for Mr Cameron, he understands nothing and he is taking an autocratic stance on the NHS and Welfare and needs to be dealt with by the people, this is a coalition government that had nothing in any of their manifestos in relation to the proposals for health and welfare reform.

    Lansley knows as much about Health as a lobsters genitalia.

    God help us all!

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  • I'm speechless.

    The only words I can find to describe this Minister of Health is - naive in the extreme

    The Telegraph (online)

    11:08AM GMT 24 Jan 2012

    Andrew Lansley: Nurses only opposed to NHS reform 'because of pension changes'

    The Health Secretary responds to a critical select committee report by suggesting the Royal College of Nursing will not support his NHS reforms because they are a vested interest indulging in trade union-like behaviour.

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  • I was so incensed I forgot the quote marks, round what i copied from the DT, so at the risk of plagiarism I have just repeated the para here with the marks! (same wording and reference as comment above)

    "Andrew Lansley: Nurses only opposed to NHS reform 'because of pension changes'

    The Health Secretary responds to a critical select committee report by suggesting the Royal College of Nursing will not support his NHS reforms because they are a vested interest indulging in trade union-like behaviour."

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  • from Anonymous | 24-Jan-2012 7:37 pm and 24-Jan-2012 7:39 pm

    what Mr Lansley says in the video which accompanies this brief article cited above is not consistent with the reports of the nurses in the NT or with what is being reported in the media!

    I make particular reference to the heart-rending article by Sally and all the comments which follow on unjoined up care in the community

    "Living with Alzheimer's: accessing support"
    21 January, 2012

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  • No the pensions issue is not to be muddled with the HSC bill opposition, you're right. The pensions opposition is about being made to pay more, work longer, receive less in terms of both salary average rather than final salary as well as the pension being CPI linked not RPI. It is also about not being hoodwinked into paying off a debt caused by the irresponsibility of bankers who think they have no accountability to the community they depend on for their gambling.

    The HSC bill is a mess and according to the RCGP's a moral issue. It is designed to channel taxpayers funds into the pockets of private companies by arranging a service based on conveyor belt economics, NOT people and their care. It demands and will legislate for competition and the exclusion of collaboration.
    All the unions have voted no confidence in Lansley already, the RCGP have polled a 98% of GP's voted for full opposition and industrial action.
    The time for Lansley to listen has passed, he has no intention and never did have. He is an autocrat that operates by getting done what he wants done, by assuming power over everyone, not making the case for it in persuasion of his argument.
    His peers are now standing in opposition to him as well (Health Committee).

    "the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"

    "The collective principle asserts that... no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means."
    A. Bevan

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  • Oh...and, I believe there is absolutely no evidence having been produced to make the case for this radical overhaul of the NHS.

    Evidence based healthcare????

    If the minister has not made the case for these changes then nor are we bound to. We will continue to 'just say No!'

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  • The other day I was sent a You Gov survey about the Health Bill. One of the questions asked if I thought it was right that the Health Bill was not being shown in its entirety to the House of Lords in order to speed up its passage through the house. Question is I suppose what are they trying to hide.

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  • why are they sending a You Gov survey when the government does not appear to be interested in professional and public opinion?

    Is You Gov an official government organisation? I just Googled them and found their website but found no home page giving an explanation as to who they are or who they are run by.

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  • I oppose the bill but we do need changes.
    Less managers and more direct care, bring back the ward sister who attends to patients and is allowed to manage, cut out non clinical paperwork, give us the tools and staff to perform our role and the respect that we deserve and the NHS would improve. Why should mangers and clinicans have all the say.

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