Comment on Clegg – priority is patient not Party outcomes

In today’s Independent Nick Clegg has set out four demands for changes that will determine whether the Conservatives get the Lib Dems support for the Health Bill. We have the solutions….

Changes demanded by Clegg 

* “We must ensure that GPs only get involved in commissioning decisions once they are ready and willing” – Sensible really. Conscripts don’t make good volunteers but if PCTs are going, we can’t have a vacuum. Solutions are to put back the compulsory date or to assign them to an existing consortia. Either way, it’s right for GPs to be more accountable for their use of NHS resources.

* “The removal of any suggestion that we are pursuing a dogmatic obsession with competition [rather than] the best healthcare system in the world”. Absolutely – focus must be on the best known care and the safest possible delivery. This also means having humility and being open to competition as the evidence shows that it drives up quality.

* “Preventing the cherry-picking of services by private providers to make sure NHS providers are not needlessly pushed into financial trouble and NHS research and training can thrive” We need to recognise some facts here: who makes the decisions about where patients go for treatment? It’s the commissioners – not the private providers. The latter were key to Labour getting waiting lists down and now they’re being branded as imposters and source of instability. There are difficult decisions ahead about viability of NHS services based on safety, not just costs. And he’s right, we must encourage research and training, but that will also mean we need to keep the NICE mandate on access to medicines.

* “Enhancing governance and local accountability so decisions are transparent to all” Yes – and competition would enhance this. Shouldn’t we know what services our GP offers, what extra training they have had or awards they have been given and what they have done to assess the needs of their population? Then we will have the information to choose who we see – and Health and Wellbeing Boards should have a role here too, making sure commissioners are taking into consideration the wider determinants of health.

So on the whole, we agree with you Nick. And we understand that you need to look tough on the NHS, but don’t let your party forget the focus must be on patient not Party outcomes.


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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4 Responses to Comment on Clegg – priority is patient not Party outcomes

  1. Pingback: Clegg may be soft-peddling on tackling competition in NHS bill | Left Foot Forward

    • I agree on removing competition push from monitor – it should focus on financial probity especially as more Foundation Trusts emerging with opaque accounts. One correction, I stood in 2005 not 2010.

  2. Pingback: The Daley (Half) Dozen: Friday | Pan Heads and Dead Heads Rock On

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