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'Let’s ‘pause’ to consider how the bill will change'


Saying “we need to take a break” usually signals the end in a relationship. But the health secretary’s admission that there are some “genuine concerns” surrounding the health bill that need time to be listened to is far from indicating that the government is drawing the curtains on this “rocky patch” of reforms.

Andrew Lansley didn’t actually say: “It’s not you, it’s me,” but if he had done, it may have allayed a few more fears. Instead, his words were met with concern from health professionals that the government’s only change in policy would be to listen to views and then ignore them, rather than act on them.

However, the language that Mr Lansley, chair of the health select committee Stephen Dorrell and the media are using around the health bill seemed to change last Monday. All we’ve heard about for months is “GP commissioning” and “GP consortia” but on 4 April, Mr Lansley referred to “doctors and nurses” three times in his speech to the House, and Mr Dorrell also chose to fuse the words “doctors and nurses” in later media interviews.

This is what we’ve been calling for in our A Seat on the Board campaign. If you haven’t signed up, make your views count at www.thepetitionsitecom/1/seatontheboard
It’s great to see Julie Moore is representing nurses on the government’s listening and advisory panel and it will be fantastic if Mr Lansley does show up to the RCN Congress this week (the will he, won’t he was still ongoing as we went to press).

But before you put up the bunting, let’s take “a natural pause” to consider how and if the health reforms will change.

National commissioning consortia are likely to largely comprise GPs but could now include a nurse, a hospital doctor and a public health expert. Is this a token change to make the reforms appear multidisciplinary? Or does it signal a change of heart and a desire to engage all disciplines to save the NHS, protect patients and defend the jobs of talented NHS professionals?

We’ll be right back to find out. After this “natural” break.


Readers' comments (6)

  • I have attended presentations regarding the changes and anyone who challenged them were met with "there is nothing you can do about it" or "You have accept the change is going to happen".
    I attended the march in London on 26th march (never protested before) and looking at responses on this site I was disappointed that some felt that marches are pointless as it wouldn't change anything.
    Now look; protesting and standing shoulder to shoulder together as a sizeable force can result in a re-think.
    I wait to see what this "pause" brings.

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  • Its not a rethink, its a pause, plain and simple. Its not enough yet, bullies like this will carry on trampling regardless without clear action from us to indicate we mean what we say.
    Industrial action

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  • I do agree with the above comments, but I want to add - as I have said in other posts - Just look at what is happening now that the unions are finally starting to get a bit of a backbone. The slightest HINT of action from our profession and we have them worried. The government and the trusts are already back peddling and backing down, they are trying to save face whilst trying not to show how worried they have become. So I think we should press this advantage and go on the offensive. They KNOW they can't win an all out fight with us, that is why they are starting to panic at the slightest hint of one, so let us give them a TRUE fight and solve this thing once and for all!

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  • You misrepresent us Jenni.
    We do not all, or even most of us agree with the reforms.

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  • For God's sake - don't believe a word of this sophistry echoing from the Tories. They have every intention of going ahead with their plans, come what may. However, they will try every ruse to convince otherwise. Please don't fall for it!

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  • We have to stand together. That is how they win, by creating divisions (divide and conquer), we must stand together, striking may not be an option, but simply working to rule, as we give so much for free, end the goodwill. I understand that it goes against what and who we are, but if we don't stand up for ourselves AND our patients, we are not doing our job properly and will deserve the daily mail description of modern nurses as being completely incompetent, that surely is a description that matches politicians, not nurses.

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