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and we all promise not to say anything or tease them or anything?
their technical (for want of a better phrase) terms and conditions for introducing the e-petitions system. Simulataneously, fundamentally and utterly undermines the practical application of it.
Can only hope that they see some significant negative press because of this.
Strictly speaking they've not broken their election pledge, just shown why it's not as effective as they sold it as being.
My understanding was that the petitions system was introduced to provide opportunites to debate things that weren't currently being talked about. The Health Bill has been debated a lot, and not just on the government's terms, as there have been opposition day debates on it as well as the standard stages.
impacts upon this at all. It certainly wasn't introduced as a process for only debating new things; it was brought in as a general system for public petitioning to the government with the proviso that the government would reserve the right to veto it. Indeed, it is intended to ease the public's perception that they are shut out of westminster.
It undermines the system absolutely because it gives the impression that the final decision to accept or not accept a petition rests with westminster; a decision that the public is shut out of.
We do have an open democracy you know...
And, given we're talking about a policy that wasn't in any election manifestos where widespread opposition from the public and several experts on the subject has been avoided, how exactly are the public involved in this decision?
Which is a shame, as the Government in the last 5/10 years has more transparent, accountable and contactable, whilst simultaneously positve public perception of politicians has decreased.
was that the public would have a process for influencing debate after elections. So, if a westminister decision was going ahead that wasn't in line with election promises, perhaps the public might have a way of influencing that; like, oh, say.. a top-down reorganisation of the NHS maybe?
it still comes across as though they're saying 162, 000 objections don't matter. Logically you might say that's fair enough as, in a country of 60 million people, those 162, 000 could easily STILL be a minority but, especially combined with the lack of support from the medical profession, it adds to the sense the government doesn't really care what anyone else thinks.
if you can name more than 162,000 people in support
All I was saying is that that number of objections in itself doesn't actually prove the majority of the country are against the plans. Certainly suggests it though.
If there was an issue that a lot of people cared about, but was never being discussed, they could put it on the table. The decision to accept or not does rest with Westminster, but I think if there was something not being talked about, the petition would be accepted.
When there's a Bill going through that one side of the House is vigourously opposed to, there's no need to have a public petition debate on it, because the opposition are already putting that forward.
that the government accidentally forgot to mention in their election manifesto.
oppositon is providing adequate resistance to the bill? I certainly don't.
Second, there are legit reasons why I (and many others like me) want to see it debated again: new information keeps coming to light, and health professionals are getting to grips with the implications of the bill. This is such a wide-ranging bill that it would not be a repeat of the last debate; the climate has changed already. I agree that we shouldn't be taking time to debate the same topics over and over (as per the Dorries method) but when it's obvious that the variables and conditions are in flux, the last thing we want is to see it rushed through.
And being rushed through it is, of course.
The bottom line is 162, 000 people don't sign up to something if the feel it's been debated enough already.
And there is a very specific debate to be had about how practical it is to force through the reforms in the face of opposition from pretty much every key body in the NHS, including most of the ones that the reforms are allegedly supposed to empower. That's an important issue and it's foolish for the Tories to sweep it under the carpet.
there were over 21,000 complaints about Jeremy Clarkson's "strikers should be shot in front of their families" comment.
But yeah, as I say above I do accept the fact that 162, 000 is still a small number relative to the size of the population. It's more the fact it's backed up with so much opposition from professional bodes, newspapers, public figures etc. The combined weight of it just leads to the impression the Tories are just ignoring all opposition and hoping it'll go away. Which,of course, they are.
are there any figures for how many of the petitions to reach the threshold have been debated (are are set to be debated) in the House of Commons and how many in Westminster Hall?
but I don't think any have been debated yet, not in the main chamber anyway.
Fair Fuel campaign had been debated?
I think that was a good example of what the epetitions site is actually for.
but doesn't the fact that many of the petitions aren't getting through suggests that maybe public perception of what it's for is somewhat different? If so, that could be a lurking problem as the perception could well be that the government are trying to appear transparent while closing down debate and/or protest.
It's why I didn't agree with them in the first place.
No, but seriously! Read the blog, it's pretty badly written.
And the guy has spent ages denouncing the Bill despite only having read it 2 days ago.
And the layout offends me.
In the last two days he'd been dissecting a newly published report. I can forgive a few typos and grammar mistakes if he's spending his time plowing through a 200 page documentwritten in Lansley's trademark technobabble.
He's been covering reform stuff and reports for months and months.
the word "eligible" to mean "guaranteed".
But take his post of Sunday for Example: "3 reasons why the Tory NHS Bill is a specific attack upon women."
I mean the NHS Bill is many things, and I can see where a lot of concerns about it are coming from, even if I don't necessarily agree with them myself, but this criticism is complete looniness drawn from three seperate and unrelated facts:
That Cameron Clegg and Lansley are Male
That more women work in the NHS
and that polling has found women to be less supportive of the bill than men.
How does that make the Bill an attack on Women? For someone with a PHD, he can't construct a logical argument very well!
was explicit that the bill would, more than likely, disproportionately affect women and the elderly. His interpretation is pretty tabloidy (especially that headline) but, hey! Politics.
I don't know if you also read this article, but it's much clearer:
But I still stand by the fact that it is very badly written blog. All the points he outlines are taken from the "negative effects column" of the Equality Assessment. When looked at on balance, the DoH has found the impact of the bill in terms of Equality on Older people as positive; on Gender as Neutral and on deprivation as positive. In the document he refers to, the DoH states their own planned mitigation for any possible negative effects on any of these groups.
I think my problem with him is that he is not criticising the Bill for any problems that he can see, but because of his own partisan beliefs, and using his position as someone with a PHD to attempt to legitimise his claims.
the DoH document itself is not partisan either. It's written from the persepctive of the bill going ahead, and a much better solution to having to 'mitigate' for a big load of problems would be to not introduce the problems in the first place. Particularly when Lansley (along with the DoH) hasn't done the job of articulating the other benefits of the bill at all well.
(For evidence of the partisan nature of the report, look at the writeup of the listening exercise: from this you'd think it was something comprehensive and much loved. From what I can tell, it's a running joke, with the DoH citing a tiny minority of health professionals as supporting the reforms)
A PhD suggests ability in critical reading: that is, a proficiency for judging that not all evidence is equal. In this debate it's a powerful chip, but ultimately it's up to the reader to decide whether his party-affiliations are overriding his critical ones. I'm not sure why you're so certain that people like him don't exist who think the bill has significant potential to impact patient care, however.
As I've said over and over in this thread, I do think there are people who have some very valid concerns about the bill. I personally did too (essentially, Gp commisioning is all very well and good, but what if you have a shit GP?).
My main issue is that this guy is more partisan than the Telegraph or the Mirror. I utterly fail to see how he has been awarded a PHD, as he shows little to no Nuance- If I'd written an Undergraduate essay the way is writing these blog posts, I would have been lambasted.
Similarly, I must admit that I fail to see how the Department of Health could issue a risk assessment of a bill without writing it from the perspective of the bill going ahead. That would be nuts?
Hopefully his PhD was a damn sight better than this. That said, his blog does clearly contain a lot of good research and useful points and it's a bit of a cheap shot to dismiss all of that just 'cos the guy can't write/argue properly.
That's a bit of a slip, there.
it is a blog, not a thesis; it's reads like he's bashing out his thoughts on stuff as he reads it. I rather like it for that reason; you wouldn't want to use him as a primary source but it reads like someone who feels as frustrated about the whole thing as I do. There's nothing I'd read in there that I wouldn't try to crossreference!
On the topic of how the report was written, it's not as though I thought they had any option to write it any other way; but it most certainly is written from the perspective of soldiering on (to the exclusion, therefore, of any solutions that involve scrapping the bloody thing). It's doing damage control, though, which certainly does give it a 'position.'
No he didn't.
The e-tabling relates specifically to the tabling of a bill, not a motion.
So the Backbench Business committee would be allotting time for a proposed "Drop the NHS Bill, Bill". Given that Backbench Business time is extremely limited, you can see why MP's wouldn't want to debate this- it would be a waste of parliamentary time.
Classic case of reading what you want to read rather than what is written. Letting his own prejudices cloud the facts means he probably shouldn't be taken very seriously.
Ravings of a madman!
given that he had a big old meeting about it and didn't invite anyone that disagreed with him.
Polly Toynbee has it bang-on today. A transparent basis of health economics and value as enabled by NICE is the real reform that the NHS needed (and could have had).
I'd add that you could still have a private industry for those rich enough to pay for expensive, ineffective treatments.
(In terms of the size of harm to the party in question?)
Sure, everyone <3's NHS, but Con & Lab are still neck and neck in the polls, just like they have been for months. Where's the dividend to the opposition?
I wonder if the fact that it has no bearing on NHS in Wales, NI and Scotland explains some of the apparent lack of an effect on poll figures? Dunno.
not that I think any of the possible alternatives would be a great deal better. Labour are hovering around 40% pretty much by default at the moment - it would appear Cameron has retoxified the Tory brand when it comes to the NHS and health is one area where Labour usually enjoys a strong lead.
DiS/the Guardian/the twiteratti/'activists' etc don't actually represent the wider public and, shock horror of horrors, there's quite a few people that actually think this isn't a bad idea.
A slightly different issue of course (of course it's going to be more polarised, because it asks about outright support of the reforms)
but had substantial concerns about one area of the Bill, say, be classified there?
they'd probably get lumped over on the right; however, since the article you posted a moment ago was written, I don't think you can even apply that description (largely agree but with substantial concerns) to any of the organisations in the article. I know the RCGP has come out strongly against it. With that said, the Royal College of Surgeons is one of the few notably 'tolerant' of the bill and I don't actually see them on there!
they might have been left off because their statements about the bill are often very very vague. Definite fence-sitters.
definitely 2. maybe 1. but that guy really likes it.
I mean there's a fair amount of apathy and a small number of health professionals, private sector people etc. in favour but I don't restrict myself to DiS/left-wing cliques and there isn't wider public support for this idea.
Feel free to prove me wrong but of course you won't 'cos you know, much as you're desperate to find a pro-Tory line, you can't actually back this one up.
I'm not dismissing its existence as a report which is in favour of these changes (I'd of course add it's pretty much as predictable it would be for them as it is the Guardian would be against them) but I'm not sure how you could read that as evidence of wider public support.
It's not one of my 'red line' issues.
For many people in this country, the NHS is an issue that's more important to them in principle than in practice.
I find it hard to get too worked up about any of this stuff.
But you still have no evidence there's any wider public support for this bill.
You could argue that this might be down to Labour's shitness, but if the issue was as important/hated as DiS would lead me to believe, the Tories would be taking a kicking - especially after running an election campaign on protecting the NHS.
I can only conclude that the public therefore for think that this Bill *does* protect the NHS, or at least isn't going to do any great damage, so they don't feel it's anything they should get too worked up about.
Meaning that lefties have no option but to revert to type and call 'the people' a bunch of ignorant idiots, and bang on about how clever/informed they are in comparison.
(I'm going to start calling people big man for a while - see if I like it.)
Troubles with the bill appeared to be responsible for the tories losing 4 points in the polls in a single week (it waqs the only major thing going on, anyway); with the net result that Labour were ahead after it.
Leading me to the conclusion that the public does not think that the bill protects the NHS etc etc. What clearer assessment of their performance could you want?
As long as by 'many' you mean, like, maybe 30, 40 people, then sure.
their spring conference could turn out to be very interesting - well, if you're the type of person who takes an interest in political party conferences, I guess. It's genuinely heartwarming to see them floundering around at <10% in the polls. I really, really hope they're still at that level (or lower) come the next GE.
In all honesty, whether for the long term interests of your party or because you think they have lost it/pushed it to far on this one, would you rather they dropped it, apologised and moved on?
In summary, 39% of people who would vote Conservative were there an election today support the bill while 19% oppose it.
50% believe they should carry on regardless, 21% believe they should abandon it.
(margin of error around 3%)
with the bill than actually support it.
It'd be a complete mess wouldn't it?
Not that I agree that's a reason to go through with changes that are clearly wrong. More just the Government's fault for rushing this through without checking their support base.
Basically dropping the bill entirely wouldnt be a good thing.
But the fact a lot of the changes are already being implemented might make it hard to scrap them but doesn't actually mean it shouldn't happen if the wider consensus is they are poor changes that will be detrimental to the health service. And it's obviously spectacularly poor form for the Government to rush this through without support and then turn round and say "ah ha ha!! Too late now!" which they seem to be doing. It's a manner of doing things last seen when Britain invaded Iraq in fact.
So what happens if the bill is scrapped?
or, really that difficult from what I could tell. PCT buildings/office space are still there, and most of the relevant staff still in position. The idea that it's too late to turn back is largely fabrication from what I can tell; it'd be a waste of money already spent, and the private firms getting their positions set up would be very, very mad indeed.
I think this could turn out to be a great example of the concord fallacy:
b/c it's just another example of this Government of utter bastards pushing through idealogical neo-liberal policies by any and all means necessary and you know big surprise by this point.
but I do wanna comment on just how utterly beautiful the thread title is. A work of genius. super duper stuff brumsy.
yesterday. Lansley has had to start talking about 'significant' changes to the bill, though he's been undermined by people at No. 10 already who have said they'll be relatively minor. More sleight of hand I suspect.
Also, let's dispel the notion that this is a party issue; it's Cameron and Lansley's issue. Conservative MP Racehl Joyce (seems kind-of a specialist in health stuff) is doing as concise a deconstruction of the bill's dangers on the twitters as I've ever seen (scroll down to her numbered tweets)
She was a candidate at the last election but didn't win. Still, your point about many Conservatives having issues with it is valid, I've heard MPs voice the same concerns she has.
1. Increased supplier induced demand where not significant or real health need
2. Increased admin costs to deal with & monitor all providers. NHS spends 5% of budget admin, US spends 25%. Markets need more bureaucracy
3. Increased legal costs due to provider challenges for pieces of the pie/ Market share etc
4. Provider failures eg PIP, Southern Cross. Will have to then pay twice and increase bureaucracy in dealing with consequences
5. Commissioning support withdrawal by private providers if they are unable to make profit. Consequences destabilise
6. Alternative to 5 is that commissioning support providers make a profit & taxpayers money goes to shareholders
6. Commissioning support conflict of interest. 7. GP Commissioning conflict of interest.
8. The only docs trained to commission, review evidence, trained in health economics (PH docs) being moved to LAs. Will be waste
9. Providers cherry picking bits of pathway or specific types of patients thereby increasing costs elsewhere.
10. Destabilisation of services that provide emergency care when they lose a lot of routine care contract share. Will require bail outs.
She giveth with one hand...
and massively taketh with the other...
not following developments in this. A post by Ben Goldacre a while back summed up why GPs don't want it, and why everyone else is worried. The main thing is that the bill itself does not introduce privatisation at point-of-contact (they argue that all competition is in commissioning and behind the scenes) and that the NHS will always remain free.
However, this is Goldacre's assessment (in annoying txt/tweetspeak, argh):
- In case u don't understand NHS bill: GPs know they're being set up to fail by being given commissioning powers. Those are specialist skills.
- After GPs fail, private commissioning expertise will be needed: large private corps, which will come to operate like health insurers.
- These large bodies, like public/private insurance co's, will be able to pick & choose patients. Note no geographical responsibility in bill
- Small differences will emerge in what services they offer. Top up plans will become available. And that, kids, will be that.
- It is so very obvious that GPs are being set up to fail at the specialist task of health service planning that it's clearly not an accident
You may argue that GPs aren't being set up to fail; they are being set up to fail. Private organisations (for example, the same ones that are currently doing the job of grilling cancer patients to see whether they're entitled to benefits) were given the go-ahead to begin making plans to carry out local commissioning before the bill was announced.
How does that work?!
Commissioning is currently carried out by PCTs, who commission at an organisational and geographical level above GPs (including other types of services, like outpatients, occupational health specialists, etc). They are guided by local and central health economics (provided by NICE and NHS management) and informed by the range of health professionals working under them.
Current method: committed to reducing geographical health inequalities. If an area is failing it is centrally audited and, subsequntly, efforts made to improve it. No such provision for private organisations to do this and no mechanism to improve them when they fail.
it's not that we don't 'like' them or that we don't think they're able to do it.
It's that we think they won't be bound by the same principles that make the NHS a free-at-point-of-contact service geared towards improving health standards across the UK, and that, accordingly, within years, it won't be. Neither do I think that introducing a layer of private industry would be value for money.