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'Maintain pressure on reforms to protect NHS'


Our joint editorial with HSJ and the BMJ in last week’s issue had a fantastic response in the national media – with the BBC, Sky and several national newspapers all giving the story a top billing.

Our joint contention that the reforms will leave the NHS in “an unholy mess” and unlikely to survive in the long term, was also the subject of a question raised on BBC’s Question Time and by Ed Miliband during Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions in the Commons.

We will have to wait to see if the pen really is mightier than the sword, but it shows the combined power of these respective NHS professions. Will this be the final straw that sees the government reconsider those issues that have caused consternation?

Well, that optimism hasn’t reached the RCN HQ. According to general secretary and chief executive Peter Carter, the latest bill amendments tabled last week won’t go far enough to fix some of its fundamental flaws. There have been changes – such as giving more detail to Monitor’s position and making the health secretary more accountable “to promote the comprehensive health service and to exercise their functions so as to secure the provision of services” – but many of the sticking points remain.

While the government continues to look at the bill, there’s still hope some of the biggest concerns could be resolved. So let’s maintain the pressure and hold firm on those issues that would threaten patient care and undermine the NHS.

This joint initiative with HSJ has gone so well, we’ve decided to do more. Don’t miss our Healthcare 100 Masterclass, sponsored by NHS Employers, which this month is an overview of those issues concerning every manager. See

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


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



Readers' comments (8)

  • too little too late!!!!

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  • tinkerbell

    tinkerbell | 8-Feb-2012 12:27 pm

    so long as somebodys voice is listened to and hopefully that will be the doctors because they are usually more united and forceful, sorry nurses but that seems to be the case.

    The big question is what kind of society do we want? Do we want a society where my life is more important that yours because i have the means to fund my healthcare and you don't?

    Just cos' other countries don't have an NHS does that mean that we shouldn't either? How about selling one of your kidneys to fund your treatment? Apparently it happens on a daily basis in some countries where it is the norm. Have we been so pampered that we don't know what we've got until we lose it, so much taken for granted.

    Wake up everybody and get real about the changes and how they will effect YOU.

    Love me, hate me but don't remain neutral on this issue. Tme to stand up and be counted and united in our response. Stop moaning and take ACTION! If you've got some help and advice how to do this then offer it. Let's all share with each other how we can go about STOPPING this happening

    This is life and death we're talking about.

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  • tinkerbell

    Latest from 38 degrees below.

    Is our NHS still in mortal danger? Andrew Lansley's NHS plans are due to become law within three months. So we need to vote now to decide what we should do together in the next few weeks to keep our NHS safe.

    Our campaign has made real progress. We have just heard that under pressure from us, the House of Lords has watered down Lansley's plan to scrap his responsibility to provide an NHS. [1] That's a huge success and shows that our campaign can work.

    But there's still plenty to worry about. Leading medical organisations like the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nurses are now calling outright for Lansley's plans to be dropped. They warn that - even with the changes we've campaigned so hard for - the plans are "a mess" and the future of the NHS is still under threat. [2]

    Can you fill in a quick online poll to help decide what we do next? Then we can spring back into action next week.

    It's no surprise 38 Degrees members keep make protecting the NHS a priority. We all know that it's a national treasure. We can't afford to lose it. So in the past year half a million of us have got involved with this campaign - e-mailing and visiting MPs, signing petitions, donating cash, buying ads and even hiring a team of expert lawyers to cut through Lansley's spin. [3]

    What should we do now? Is it time to zoom in on the parts of Lansley's plan which would introduce more competition and privatisation to the NHS? Or should we step back from the details and join with the doctors and nurses demanding the entire plan is withdrawn? Or something else? [4]

    It's up to you - please take 3 minutes to help plan our next steps:

    38 Degrees members have proved time and again that people power works. When we launched our campaign against the government plans to sell off our national woodlands we were told we had no chance. But we kept at it. And after months of working together, we forced the government to stand up and admit they got it wrong. [5]

    In the same way, people have been telling us for nearly a year now that Lansley's NHS plans are a done deal. We have never let that put us off! And already by working together we've helped rein in some of the worst parts. There's so much more we can do in the next three months – so let's decide our plans together.

    Thanks for getting involved,

    Johnny, David, Marie, Hannah, Cian, Becky and the 38 Degrees team

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 9-Feb-2012 11:41 am

    tinkerbell, I suspect this Bill is both a disaster and will get enacted.

    But Cameron looked very, very uneasy when Miliband (Milliband ?) was pointing out the list of clinical bodies which have now come out against it, at PM's questions.

    The trouble is, a few months ago Cameron et al got away with the claim that they had 'changed it after listening to what you said', when in reality they hadn't (for example, they had pushed some promises into the NHS Regs as opposed to embedding hem in the Bill), so everything went quiet at the end of that 'consultation break', instead of pushing very aggressively at that time.

    There is now an awful lot of loosing face, if the Bill were pulled, so it will take a serious amount of continuing pressure - not helped by most laymen having no idea of what the proposed changes are !

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  • tinkerbell


    In a nutshell a good bill in my opinion would look like this

    We will never allow the fundamental principles of the NHS to be abolished because these are pivotal to our civilised society. We will always maintain free care at the point of delivery to every race, creed or colour regardless of financiall status. We will not put profits before our nations healthcare or money before peoples lives. If we are found to be making a fast buck ourselves on the nations misery we will be imprisoned'

    Fill in the blanks

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 9-Feb-2012 12:07 pm 'There is now an awful lot of loosing face, if the Bill were pulled, so it will take a serious amount of continuing pressure - not helped by most laymen having no idea of what the proposed changes are !

    I think they would rather lose face than never get elected again as Nye Bevan said.

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  • tinkerbell

    Don't watch this if you are easily offended by swearing.

    Let's get the truth out there. Well done young uns

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 9-Feb-2012 1:10 pm

    You are of course right about that - it is the fear of the Tories being blamed for some sort of worsening NHS (in particular 'for ruining the NHS by pushing ahead with a Bill everyone told them would be a disaster) which is currently the biggest force towards pulling it. Lots of Tory MPs are beginning to get that worry in their heads !

    Politicians are always most influenced by the way the votes will fall !

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