Posts Tagged ‘health bill’

The polling that explains why Andrew Lansley is safe

13/02/2012, 07:00:36 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Dead man walking. That is one of the more polite descriptions of Andrew Lansley’s current state of political health.

His bill is an unmitigated disaster. This mish mash of compromises and quangos is trapped in the quicksand of parliamentary process, generating ever worse headlines for Lansley and the government.

Yesterday he suffered perhaps the greatest indignity to date: Simon Hughes ventilating on the right time to shift the health secretary.

Setting aside the nonsense at the heart of what the Liberal Democrat party president was saying – that Lansley should be moved only after the damage has been done when a bill that Hughes himself describes as not the one “we wanted”, has been passed – even hard Labour hearts will have felt a little sympathy for Andrew Lansley having his career dissected by Hughes at his most sanctimonious.

So the conventional wisdom is clear. Lansley is finished.

In one sense, this is right. The secretary of state for health will be moved, but then in the long run so will most of the cabinet. Where many commentators will be wrong is on timing.

For all the pressure, Andrew Lansley is still safe in his job. Yesterday’s Sunday Times YouGov poll held the key to why.


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2012 predictions: Dave and Nick to wed, the boundary review to be dropped and maybe Lansley too

05/01/2012, 09:17:01 AM

by Kevin Meagher

A mug’s game and a fool’s errand, but in the spirit of offering hostages to fortune, making rash and arbitrary predictions and being willing to be hoist by my own petard, please find my political predictions for 2012:

1. “With this pact I thee wed…”

This will be the year that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats finally face up to the indisputable logic of a pre-election pact. Like a couple who have lived together for years, there is little reason to hold off from tying the knot – sooner or later they will realise this. They get on better than either side initially expected. Their candidates go into the next election with a joint record. The two parties’ fortunes are now symbiotic so there is no point manufacturing differences.

For ambitious Lib Dems, carrying on with the coalition is their best shot at retaining a ministerial career. For Cameron, Lib Dem ballast gives his government a better equilibrium, ensuring he doesn’t have to try too hard to please his right flank.

Austerity is going to stretch into the next parliament. Both sides can sell the deal as a continuation of “acting in the national interest”. Brutally, the number of marginal seats where the Tories are the main challengers to them would see off half the Lib Dems current 57 MPs. So logical and self-interested then; but will this convince both parties’ grassroots?

2. A shuffling of the pack

2012 will see a significant cabinet reshuffle. Commendably, David Cameron is proving a reluctant butcher. By the spring, however, he will want to freshen up the cabinet’s middle ranks, probably waiting until after May’s local elections. At the very least, Clarke, Spelman, Gillan and Warsi are all expendable. If Boris beats Ken for the London mayoralty, he can risk promoting a generation of Cameroons. (more…)

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The “new” health bill is a PR fix. Scrap it and start again.

28/06/2011, 09:30:45 AM

by Liz Kendall

This week, some parts of the government’s health and social care bill will go back through the committee stage of scrutiny by MPs.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg say they have listened and acted on people’s concerns. Now we’ve seen the government’s actual amendments to the bill, how does their claim match the reality?

The first problem with the government’s new NHS plans is that they are an even bigger mess than they were before.

Initially, the government wanted to scrap primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, set up the NHS commissioning board, public health England and the new monitor at the national level, and GP commissioning consortia and health and wellbeing boards at the local level.

Since then, new clusters of PCTs have been formed to “manage the transition” and David Nicholson, the chief executive of the NHS, has made it clear that he wants to have regional outposts of the NHS board (SHAs anyone?). Following its listening exercise, the government says that GP consortia will become clinical commissioning groups. It also wants to establish new clinical senates and have a bigger role for clinical networks.

These organisations come on top of the bodies that already exist, including the national quality board, the national institute for health and clinical excellence and the care quality commission.

Confused? You should be. It is now completely unclear who is responsible for taking decisions and leading changes in the NHS.


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