Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Health Experts Reject NHS Changes

Nearly 400 public health experts warn Lords to reject NHS reforms as
the Lib Dem / Tory coalition is facing a fresh revolt over their controversial health reforms, saying the plans will cause the NHS “irreparable harm”.

In an open letter to peers published in The Daily Telegraph, the public health specialists say the proposals will put patient safety at risk, waste money and damage trust in the medical profession.

They say that the Health and Social Care Bill will weaken the ability of the authorities to fight disease and tackle health emergencies. The experts also tell the Lords that the goverment is wrong to claim that doctors support them.

They conclude: “It is our professional judgement that the Health and Social Care Bill will erode the NHS’s ethical and co-operative foundations and that it will not deliver efficiency, quality, fairness or choice. We therefore request that you reject passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.”

Nick Clegg, who forced the “pause” in the Bill’s progress after a uprising by grassroots Liberal Democrats in the spring, stopped his party calling for more substantial changes at this month’s conference.

However, it is expected that Baroness Williams, the influential Lib Dem peer who has "huge concerns" about the Bill, will lead the opposition with Lord Owen, a former health minister who has called the plans "fatally flawed", also likely to figure prominently in the debates.

The Shadow Health Secretary, John Healey, said: "David Cameron is in denial, both about the damage his plans are doing to the NHS and the strength of opposition to his Health Bill across the NHS."

"There is no mandate for the Bill, either from the election or the coalition agreement. With the government having railroaded its plans through the Commons, heavy responsibility is now going to be shouldered by the Lords."

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