Lobbying: “The Next Big Scandal” (and its influence on NHS privatisation)

This is my latest letter to our local MP, John Glen, regarding a promise made by David Cameron concerning the “next big scandal”.

 

Dear Mr Glen,

Before the last election Mr Cameron promised there would be no top down reorganisation or privatisation of the NHS. He also pointed out that ‘Lobbying’ would be the next big scandal and promised to do something about it.

Three years after the last election, I note that a disturbing number of contracts in the privatisation of the NHS (part of a massive top down reorganisation) have gone to companies that have been generous donors to individual MPs, government ministers or the Conservative party in general. I also note that a disturbing number of MPs and Lords, not just Tory, stand to gain financially from the outsourcing of NHS services.  It would seem then that Mr Cameron’s prediction is about to come true. I am sure that you want to avoid this as much as ordinary ‘hard-working ‘ citizens, whose tax payments will fund this scandal.

I am therefore keen to ensure that the government fulfils its commitment to create a statutory lobbying register. If it is not legislated for in the next parliamentary session, I am sure that you will be concerned that the government may miss its chance to implement this pledge, which was in the coalition agreement.

Please can you ask the minister in charge, Chloe Smith, to seek an assurance that the legislation for it will be announced in the Queen’s Speech?

Also, if you have not yet done so, please sign EDM: 222 Register of Lobbyists.

This, on its own, will not be sufficient to prevent the scandal but will be a small first step and will indicate that the government is serious about this particular promise.

Many thanks,

Colin Lawson.

NB: Abundant evidence to substantiate the conflicts of interest, lobbying and political donations that are a part of the NHS ‘reforms’ is in the public domain but I can provide details if you so wish.

Some evidence from 2012: Special Report –  Selling the NHS: how parliament and the healthcare industry got cosy

NHS is threatened by ‘legalised corruption’ March 2012

 Unhealthy influence: The rise of the NHS Partners Network  Social Investigations, March 2013

The Chair of the committee that advises on business appointments to departing senior civil servants is a director of a company that has won a contract related to the Health and Social Care Act in which he voted in favour.  Social Investigations, April 2013

Latest on Conflicts of Interest:
CCG head awards “£70,000 contract to a firm where he is medical director.” http://bit.ly/14BELbz 

BBC News – Conflicts of interest ‘rife’ among new GP commissioners

GPs need protection against conflicts of interest, say legal experts  Pulse, 4th April 2013

GP duty of candour undermined by ‘inappropriate’ gagging clauses in CCG constitutions  Pulse, 5th April 2013

And, in case anyone wasn’t paying attention:How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report by ‘Open Democracy’ on two years of censorship and distortion

Healthcare trusts seek big increase in income from private patients, raising fears of two-tier service  Observer 6th April 2013

1,000 GPs gagged by CCGs from talking about local health services  D Telegraph 6 April 2013

More than 100 lobbying professionals still hold parliamentary passes: Senior managers at interest groups and businesses still have passes despite coalition promises to change perception of lobbying  10th April, Guardian

 

NHS staff in the South West who don’t agree to pay cut face sack

As already reported here NHS staff in the South West including Salisbury Hospital face a pay cut and worsening conditions of service. This comes  as a result of the government’s enthusiasm for regional pay and the foundation of a “Pay Cartel” consisting of 19 NHS organisations across the South West.  This of course comes on top of a pay freeze and increased pension contributions.  Employers claim this will help them make the £20 billion in “savings” over four years required by the government, but coincidentally it could help to smooth the privatisation of the NHS where providers like Virgin and Serco will make their profits by driving down pay and conditions.

See here for more details: NHS staff who don’t agree to pay cut face sack

Salisbury NHS Watch

Hospital trusts’ joint talks on rising wage bill stokes fears of NHS pay cuts (Marlborough News Online)

It looks like people are finally paying attention to the government’s Health & Social Care Bill – let’s hope it’s not too late.

According to independent and objective comparisons, the NHS is one of the most successful health care systems on the planet. This is despite political interference and persistent underfunding for most of its existence.  Just think how much more successful the NHS would have been if it had been consistently funded at the same level as comparable countries and had politician’s efforts simply gone into further improvements in care and eliminating the undoubted problems that exist.

The government’s Health and Social Care Bill is hugely complex, making it very difficult for ordinary people to understand the consequences. However, finally, it is becoming clear that the proposals:

  • remove the Duty of the Secretary of State to secure and provide comprehensive health care
  • will result in a top down, hugely expensive and complex reorganisation of the NHS that was not in any party election manifesto
  • are already having a negative influence on service provision and waiting times
  • do not address any of the real issues, particularly how we cope with an ageing population
  • are designed to privatise the provision of services and encourage the profitable parts of the service to be taken over by international health care companies who will make decisions that prioritise their shareholder’s interests and will channel huge sums of tax payers’ money into their profits and CEO bonuses.  (Many of these companies already have a disastrous track record)
  • will lead to a US style health care system led by and for the benefit of insurance and private health care companies

If you doubt any of the above, please do your own research.  But beware of what is clearly double speak and spin from the Health Minister and from organisations that stand to benefit handsomely from the proposals.  We desperately need decisions based on facts, evidence and rational debate. If we care about the NHS we need to pay attention and get involved – it will soon be too late and there will be no going back.

Essential reading for anyone who cares about the NHS: http://bit.ly/z8X7Ge

Here is a set of short video clip from Dr Hamish Meldrum  (Chair of the BMA at the Save our NHS rally): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpC9Ug-rLcI&feature=related

David Owen on the NHS Bill (at the Save our NHS Rally): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx0sJtCtXJw&feature=related

“it will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it. A short speech by  Clive Peedell, co-chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association – someone with faith and prepared to fight.

Time to pull the plug on this unloved health bill – Deliberately or not, the NHS is being set up for failure:http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/01/health-bill-nhs-private-care

An interesting article: Will the health bill increase private activity in the NHS?:http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/jan/19/health-bill-private-patients

The Health Service is being privatised! I don’t remember voting for that, was there a referendum?

Cost of NHS reorganisation and the rise in Waiting Lists: http://www.dropthebill.net/news Why isn’t this in the news????

“The health bill will create ‘genuine opportunities’ for the private sector to take over large chunks of the NHS”, the health minister in charge of steering the reform bill through the House of Lords claimed.  Former banker Lord Howe told an audience of private sector providers that though the NHS ‘will not give up their patients easily’, there were opportunities for those wishing to ‘enter the fray’.  ‘The Pulse’, Jan 2012

Bad science concerning NHS competition is being used to support the controversial Health and Social Care Bill