NHS Mar13

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The text of a letter sent to Emily Thornberry MP, March 2013

Dear Emily Thornberry,
I am sending this in the hope that you will look at the links below, all three of which concern the National Health Service.
I think that when the re-organization has gone further and more people are aware of what is going on, it will lead to a further loss of support for all politicians and politics. I believe that it wasn’t even in the manifestos at the last general election.
The continuous battle between Tories and Labour, in which each winning party undoes much of what was done earlier by the other, has done us considerable economic damage over the years since the war, and needs to change. I am very concerned by what is going on now with the NHS. Labour will understandably try to restore it somewhat to its former state, and taxpayers will have to pay both for this huge re-organization AND for buying out the private firms which are rushing in to take over profitable bits of the service.
I wish that the two (or three) main parties would compromise and work together as far as they can, to improve the quality of management for the NHS, so as to provide for steady improvement rather than violent swings in policy. I certainly don’t think that the proportion of GDP spent on the NHS is excessive, and we shouldn't be trying to reduce it since it is bound to cost us more and make the country even poorer in the long run - as well as causing misery to some. Many countries spend a higher proportion, and have a better and more stable service.
It would be more sensible to give up Trident and our international pretensions, and recognize that we are a small country off the coast of Europe, trying to do the best for the population!
The links are:
Thank you for taking time to read this.
Yours sincerely,
Alan Ray-Jones

Email sent to the Department of Health on their website at http://www.info.doh.gov.uk/contactus.nsf/memo?openform

2 April 2013

This is not a question but a statement.
I am absolutely appalled by articles in many newspapers about the NHS, and in particular by the scope for corruption amongst GPs.with stories such as 'Doctors using NHS in 'abhorrent' way to push private practice, Whitehall boss admits', in the Daily Telegraph. We were told again and again that the worry about the Act and the Regulations were 'overblown', but evidently they were not. Is the Secretary of State and the Department being dishonest or  incompetent?
No doubt you are aware of the verdict [on the way the Regulations were introduced] by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee
I won't include any attachments because I'm sure the Department has a press cuttings service. For goodness sake, act urgently to stop what's going on, and if the Regulations were not intended to lead to wholesale privatization come what may, amend them immediately and cancel the contracts!
Alan Ray-Jones

The article which led to this email was in the Daily Telegraph today, 2 April 2013

Reply from the Department of Health to the second concern above, about wholesale privatization of the Health Service:

"...... The Government acknowledges that the precise wording of the regulations has created confusion in some quarters about what the legal effect of the regulations would be.  In particular, there has been extensive concern about whether the regulations would effectively make all NHS services subject to competitive tendering.  While this is not, and never has been, the Government’s intention, ministers have taken the concerns expressed very seriously, and have taken action to ensure there would be no doubt about what the regulations would do.

The Government listened to stakeholders and members of both Houses of Parliament, with a view to improving the regulations and removing any scope for misinterpretation.  Ministers introduced the new regulations on 11 March.  The new regulations replace the 13 February regulations, and make absolutely clear that:

- there is no requirement to put all contracts out to competitive tender.  This means that commissioners are able to offer contracts to one provider where only that provider is capable of providing the services;

- the healthcare regulator, Monitor, has no power to force the competitive tendering of services, ensuring that decisions about how and when to introduce competition is solely up to the doctors and nurses in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs); and

- competition should not override integration, which commissioners should use where it is in the interests of patients.

Further information responding to misinterpretations of the effect of the regulations can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-procurement-patient-choice-and-competition-regulations-2013-department-of-health-response-to-legal-opinions.

Ministers also appreciate that CCGs will require help and support to enable them to comply with the regulations in a fair and consistent way.  With this in mind, Monitor will be publishing guidance on compliance with the regulations, in accordance with a requirement in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.  NHS England is also working with Monitor on a choice and competition framework that will provide guidance to both commissioners and providers on the circumstances in which introducing competition for services would be likely to be effective and where it would not be appropriate.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Neil Achary
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health