Saturday, March 12, 2011

Report from Fortress Sheffield

Frank Little writes: The big debate today as far as the media are concerned was F5, "Updating the NHS: Personal and Local". Although the GP-based reorganisation affects only England, perhaps some comments are in order. The feeling in the hall was of opposition to privatisation,by the front or back door, resistance to reorganisation of the NHS for the sake of it (that's familiar to us in Wales!), reservations about the use of dodgy statistics by the Minister of Health in promoting his policy, objection that this policy was neither in the coalition agreement nor explicitly in the parties' manifestos and a real desire to ensure democratic input to the new system (as at present envisaged the lowest ranked elected person who can hear an appeal is the Minister).
In an intervention, Bob Barton of Clwyd West put in a word for the people of North Wales who had to travel across the border for treatment and did not know how they would stand after the new arrangements in England.
As Richard Kemp said in summing up (I paraphrase): the media expected blood on the walls, but instead witnessed a reasoned debate. The outcome was consensual, and by no means a concession to a Thatcherite minister.

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