Lansley has "selected hearing" on health bill exercise

Published on Thursday, 18 August 2011 16:26
Posted by Scott Buckler

UNISON, the UK's largest union, today accused Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley of selective hearing over his response to the NHS Future Forum's (FF) recommendations


"Far from implementing the core recommendations on competition, the Health Secretary is just ignoring the parts that he doesn't wants to hear", warned Christina McAnea, UNISON's Head of Health.

The NHS Future Forum announced today it is continuing its listening exercise, but the union is calling on the Government not to just listen, but to take action over fears raised by NHS staff, patients, health unions and the public.

Christina McAnea, went on to say:

"The Future Forum said that Monitor should not be an economic regulator and its primary concern should be the quality of patient care. Andrew Lansley has not adopted this recommendation and Monitor's main objective is to enforce competition law paving the way for privatisation.

"The Forum also recommended that the Bill should include reference to promoting collaboration and co-operation in the NHS that is still sadly missing from the Bill. The NHS benefits hugely from open sharing of ideas and innovations adopting a 'commercial confidentiality' approach will be a major step backwards for patients."

Critically, the private patient income cap was not looked at by the Future Forum, but its removal will lead to private patients jumping to the top of NHS waiting lists. However, the FF lead, Professor Field, said that it should stay but be reviewed.

Christina McAnea, said:

"The private patient income cap must stay. At a time when hospitals are struggling to meet the Government's demands for £20bn in so-called efficiency savings, they will be sorely tempted to prioritise private paying patients. It is vital that we preserve an NHS based on need not on ability to pay."

Source: UNISON

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