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Lansley: reform criticisms 'not valid'


Health secretary Andrew Lansley has hit back at critics of his health reforms, saying some concerns were “not valid” and opposition from unions was “not necessarily representative” of the health professions.

In a video available on Nursing Times’ sister publication HSJ (register for free to watch), Mr Lansley answered questions about the Health Bill from clinicians on

He said while some people have had legitimate concerns, “some of them have been concerns where…I know that they are saying they are worried about something, [but] I know that that’s not valid”.

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The government has amended the bill to rule out the possibility of providers competing for NHS services on price. Mr Lansley said: “There are other things where they have concerns where we can do something about it - we have, we will continue to do so.”

But, he said: “I’m not going to change our policy on the basis of people saying it’s something that it isn’t.”

He said opposition from trade unions to his reforms were “not necessarily representative” of the health professions.

Mr Lansley denied that more competition in the NHS will create fragmentation. He said competition would be “for the best interests of patients”.

He also clarified that any willing provider means “any qualified provider” and argued: “The only way you can actually encourage patients to come to you is by providing a better service.”


Readers' comments (10)

  • is this idiot for real!!!

    god help us all, the nhs will be no more in a few years

    the tories will finally get what they have always wanted, privatisation of the nhs

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  • it does not matter how it is organised as long as all patients get the best quality care and it is affordable.

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  • "Bombastic" springs to mind on Lansley's attitude, even tunnel vision on his own agenda, and I hasten to add, lack of front line insight.

    As for anonymous 2:01pm, organisation does matter because staff are patients too, and if the organisation is wrong, miserable overworked staff leads to low motivation and bad health.

    In my view it should all be about balance, the patients and those trying to care for an increasingly high amount of patients who expect more of what is often not even possible.

    If patients have a say (I am am one of those too), then it is also important to understand what is reasonable, possible, affordable, cost effective.

    I am in despair of GPs have more power when many haven't a clue about cost effectiveness, often don't want to know so they don't have to treat. I know they are not all like that, but I'm afraid I have met too many that are.

    Just look at 'patient' streaming inappropriately blocking A&E, look at the ones not coming into clinic for review, then claiming they are an 'emergency'. The ones who persistantly miss their appointments because they have something better to do on the day?

    I'm afraid 'best care for patients' has become a bit of a cliche, especially since I work where those who 'care' have closed the most convenient and busy family planning clinic and moved it to where people cannot get to, as one example of 'patient quality care'.

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  • Hahaha! That's great isn't it. We apparently have to have his approval for legitimacy of concerns to be acknowledged let alone adressed!! A tad narcisstic.
    He is right in that the union view does not represent everyone in the healthcare profession otherwise he would be chased out of office forthwith, however this is a reconfiguration of his earlier assertion that most GP's agree with the reforms when in actual fact GP's have been forced to be consortia not volunteered. The BMA laughed his proposals out of conference by absolute majority which does rather imply he does not have the overwhelming support he was trying to spin (or is it lie?).
    He's been nurturing this baby for a long while under cover of darkness and won't give up at the first objection.

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  • Is this a joke? So this idiot comes along and makes sweeping changes, but when experts and those who work in the field criticise it, apparently their views are not valid?

    It seriously demonstrates the attitude of those in charge of our NHS though doesn't it? What a piss take!

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  • “some of them have been concerns where…I know that they are saying they are worried about something, [but] I know that that’s not valid”.

    hmmm... imagine as a patient, you heard that from one of the healthcare professionals looking after you;
    or you saying it to your patient/client who's just expressed some anxiety about what is going to happen...
    Someone might get sent for dignity, compassion and empathy training and very sure that there'd be no end of complaints from all round.

    It sounds like the government has already made their decisions and implemented changes.

    The firms who will advise GP pathfinder consortiums will most probably be the same firms helping them to run the consortia when established. Most probably multinational project management, auditing + accounting and law firms, making billions profits every year. Business models are there to maximise profits for major stakeholders and not so good for employees or patients care in acute and community settings. Best way of saving money is not to get ill and have no treatment/interventions (how realistic is that).
    If the rich are so altruistic, then they'd donate at least half of their profits to public services and charities, and they'd still have huge amounts of money.
    Help and support those who are providing these services - especially if they don't want to get their hands dirty at the sharp end of business.

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  • mike | 24-Mar-2011 7:36 pm

    "Is this a joke? So this idiot comes along and makes sweeping changes, but when experts and those who work in the field criticise it, apparently their views are not valid?"

    Currently, to put it in a nutshell (although obviously far more complex than this) everybody involved in the health service is trying to defend their own interests in a power struggle. the battle appears to be between the health care professionals supplying the health care demands of their patients with little control over any of the resources required to do their job adequately or the system of renumeration for their services, the government providing the resources and making the policies for this activity, and managers merely distributing these resources.

    As politicians (whose main interests appear to be the economy and profit making but not the services required to support the population) do not listen to expert opinion or take advice from the nursing, medical and other professions who actually know the needs of their patients better than anybody else and how to serve these, is it not possible to put many of the comments voiced here (unedited) somewhere else where they might at least see them? Even though they may not read them, at least then some of it would be taken on board subliminally and in a way which may make prick their conscience when they eventually realise the truth of what they are dealing with here in maintaining a high, consistent and equitable quality of care by staff of the highest calibre, and not simply politics and business or messing around with human lives! Although a financial framework is required to run the organisations (? based on some business model), patients and staff who care for them are not pawns on a chess game as one is often made to feel. we only have one brief chance to live on this earth as best as we possibly can and do not wish to have it messed around by poorly managed healthcare which can lead to devastating outcomes.

    I have the feeling that the comments is a great place for airing our views and for debate but I also have the feeling that these views do not go where they should be of influence.

    It seems the nice way of negotiations has failed with the politicians so now the harder way has to be tried and then the ........... way!

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  • Anonymous | 25-Mar-2011 12:01 pm, I know exactly what you mean and wholeheartedly agree. I have urged Jenni (the editor of NT) to pass our comments (unedited) onto numerous people to whom they are aimed, (such as specific politicians, the CNO, etc) and she has stated that they are being so, but we get no responses so I suppose we will just have to take her word for that. I have also contacted my local MP (I won't say which one for obvious identification reasons) for help with numerous issues that affect us and have referred many of these threads to them. They basically couldn't give two figs. I am exasperated and at a loss at what else we can do?

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  • NHS staff and patients need a PhD in Psychology to realise how we are all being manipulated and coercised. As things are at the moment we will follow like sheep, despite how much we protest, whether it be 'NHS reforms?', pensions, patient dignity and privacy, etc., etc..

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  • "... we will follow like sheep, despite how much we protest.."

    with all due respect to the British race, I think this is an inherent weakness in our nature. maybe because we are basically a peace loving and obedient nation. these admirable traits served us well in the last WW but no longer seem appropriate to those who wish to take advantage of this.

    We all need a higher degree to understand and critique all the information that is being fed us!

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