Tuesday News Review

Listening exercise is over: has anything changed?

The political fallout from the review of the NHS reforms has begun. Nick Clegg has reportedly told a meeting of Lib Dem MPs and peers that the party’s goals on the reforms had been “very handsomely met”. Andrew Lansley has called on Conservative MPs to stand by him. The Health Secretary earlier said the NHS Future Forum report had shown “clear support for a health service that puts patients at the heart of everything it does” – but John Healey described the findings as a “demolition job” on the Government’s “mismanagements”. Head of the Health Select Committee Stephen Dorrell hailed the Future Forum report as “a step forward”. The news comes as a new poll by Comres/ITV shows that over half the population do not trust David Cameron to keep his promises on NHS reform. – Politics Home

The truth is that one cannot slip an X-ray scan between Lansley and Field’s beliefs. Field said his NHS thinking was underpinned by three ideas: that services should be commissioned by clincians; that patients should be engaged and involved; and that health and social care need integrating. Lansley said the same thing last month in the same conference room. Field’s proposals have been welcomed by opponents because they think that Lansley’s bill will now be gutted. But what Field has done is to preserve the bill’s founding principles and seduce opponents by peppering the bill with so many concessions that the government is left with confusion and incoherence. The listening exercise was supposed to be a full stop in the heated argument over the NHS. In fact it is just a comma. When amendments to the bill and guidance are published, the political fight over the NHS will be resumed. – the Guardian

The government is to accept large swathes of its plans for the NHS in England need to be rewritten, the BBC has learnt. Concessions will be made over the pace of change and the powers given to GPs, as demanded by an independent review. More details – including about the role of competition in the health service – will be unveiled on Tuesday in the government’s response to the review. Ministers hope a quick response will allow them to restart stalled changes. In April, the government took the unprecedented move of halting the parliamentary progress of the Health and Social Care Bill underpinning the changes amid mounting criticism from academics, health unions and MPs. – the BBC

Front line return for David Miliband?

David Miliband is considering a surprise comeback to frontline politics in an attempt to end speculation about a continuing rift with his brother Ed. Friends of the former Foreign Secretary said yesterday that his joining the Shadow Cabinet was a “live issue” in his circle of political allies. “There is a debate going on. Some people are arguing that it would be better to be a team player than look as though he is sulking on the sidelines,” said one source. A biography of Ed Miliband by journalists Mehdi Hassan and James Macintyre claims the relationship with his elder brother is still very strained eight months after he defeated him to win the Labour leadership. There were weekend reports that David is waiting for Ed to fail so he could mount another bid for the job. – the Independent

Inflation hits poorest

Poor people in Britain are suffering from a far higher inflation rate than the rich, according to research released today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that shows the impact of soaring food and energy bills on those with the lowest incomes. The thinktank said the least well off had experienced a higher cost of living than the wealthy for the past decade, but that the difference had widened sharply since the long, deep recession of 2008 and 2009. In a study that coincides with the release of new official data today, the IFS said its analysis using the retail prices index (RPI) showed that the poorest fifth of households had faced an inflation rate of 4.3% between 2008 and 2010, compared to 2.7% for the richest fifth of households. RPI inflation has continued to rise in 2011 and stood at 5.2% in April. – the Guardian

Leave a Reply