Ex GP peer Lord Nicholas Rea’s bid to halt Health and Social Care Bill outvoted
Former Kentish Town doctor attacks coalition’s NHS reforms
Published: October 13, 2011
by TOM FOOT
A FINAL bid to scupper government health reforms that Camden doctors say will “irrevocably privatise” the NHS was launched in the House of Lords on Tuesday by a former Kentish Town GP.
Labour peer Lord Nicholas Rea – a partner at Kentish Town Health Centre for most of his life – tabled the amendment calling on the chamber to bring a halt to the Health and Social Care Bill.
He told the chamber: “I know that many thousands of people throughout the country oppose the Bill and want the House to reject it. They will be bitterly disappointed if I do not call for a vote [to withdraw the Bill].
“The Bill must be sent back to the drawing board, so that the NHS can get back to work without a sword of Damocles hanging over it.” But his calls – which would have stopped the Bill returning to the House of Commons – was voted down by 354 to 220 following a mammoth two-day debate ending yesterday (Wednesday).
It means the massive changes – which were not in either coalition party’s manifesto – are certain to be passed by MPs in the House of Commons and become legislation.
On Tuesday, Baroness Kennedy, who lives in Belsize Park, told the chamber: “The Bill does not state that comprehensive services must be provided, so there may well be large gaps in service provision in parts of the country, with no Secretary of State accountable.”
Dame Joan Bakewell, who lives in Primrose Hill, told the chamber: “The people of this country do not want it run on a competitive model.”
Critics of the Bill say it paves the way for profit-making private firms – or “Any Qualified Providers” – to bid for every section of the NHS from the hospital casualty units to physiotherapy. Crucially, it mean GPs deciding what gets funded and, in turn, lead to patient care decisions being based on cost for the first time in the history of the NHS.
Dr Roy MacGregor, a partner at the James Wigg Practice, said: “The James Wigg Practice sees these reforms as the blatant dismantling of the NHS. The relationship between patients and their doctors will be irrevocably changed and already we are seeing chaos in the organisation of the NHS which follows these proposals which are already going ahead. ”
In Camden, a group of GPs and health officials have already formed the Camden Clinical Commissioning Consortium Board that will control the flow of NHS funding.
The board includes many familiar faces from Camden Primary Care Trust, which is being abolished under the reforms, and seven GPs, a practice manager and nurse. Decision-making will be split across north, south and west “clusters”.
CCCCB chairwoman Caz Sayer, a GP in the Adelaide Practice in Camden for 20 years, in a statement on a new website, said: “If we can get the pathways right, the savings will follow. It will be challenging time.”
• For information about the group visits www.camden.nhs.uk/GPs/commissioning
More competition, more power for GPs
• Primary Care Trusts will be abolished with funding decisions passed on to around 600 groups of GPs across the country.
• Increase competition in the NHS by inviting GPs to buy care and treatments from “Any Qualified Provider” (AQP) in a massively expanded NHS marketplace.
• All hospitals must become independently run Foundation Trusts in which they compete against each other.
• Reduce management costs by 45 per cent over the next four years leading to massive job losses.
• Transfer accountability of the NHS from the Secretary of State for Health to the independent NHS Commissioning Board.