Conservatives and the NHS, Megrahi and cabinet government.

A new ComRes poll for The Independent shows that 62% of Conservative MPs said that the NHS should not receive guaranteed increases in funding in the years ahead. 62% did not favour the current NHS model – funded from general taxation and free at the point of use.
One faction within the Conservative party, The Freedom Association, backs the ’60 year mistake’ remarks by the MEP Hannan on a USA chat show. Another faction, the Progressive Vision’ group, has set up a No2NHS campaign.
Insofar as any Conservative policies have crept into view at all, the omens for the NHS look very bleak indeed if they achieve a working majority. Has anyone spotted a detailed Conservative policy of significance yet?
A letter of mine appeared in The Independent on 24 8 9 on the subject of the NHS. Here is a short version:
It is this sort of management derived incoherence (or ‘creative destruction’) that underlies much of the NHS’ problems. Underlying the management is the gross, incompetent, unforgiveable, culpable stupidity that passes for political direction on health. We used to have a rational template for healthcare delivery but no funds and now there is a surplus (literally, in some places) of funds but the template is purposely destroyed and the mayhem of the market has been let loose on the nation’s sick and injured. There’s the problem.

Effective health care delivery is absolutely dependent on coherent, collaborative, rational behaviour amongst all functions in autonomous, locality based, cohesive multidisciplinary teams. No barriers, no wasteful distracting competition, no futile bureaucracy, no raving ideologues/apparatchiks, no empire building, no duplication of any element, provision of all services as close as is practicable to the patients – all the things that sane person would list if asked to describe a practical health service.

Competition and care are incompatible – period. The emergence of winners is inescapably linked to the emergence of losers and yet the ideologues would have you believe this is progress.

The blizzard of opinion that has greeted the compassionate release of Megrahi has been fascinating. Dr. Swire, who knows more about the subject than most people I suspect, does not even think the man was guilty in the first place. This is one of those subjects about which the weight of opinion is in inverse proportion to the amount of information in the public domain, in my view.
There is so much about the Lockerbie bombing and the web of doubt, deceipt and disinformation that surrounds it that remains obscure that the most a cautious commentator can say is that the case in unproven – as they say in Scotland.
If the man is dying, and he does have that appearance to my professional eye, then I support his release. A civilised and compassionate society does not torment prisoners – even if they are guilty.
The destruction of cabinet government by both Thatcher and Blair/Brown has come in for a great deal of criticism in a Lord’s committee. Very senior erstwhile civil servants have been unequivocally damning in their evidence:
The rise of the unelected advisor is particularly severely criticised.
There has been a definite whiff of quasi-dictatorship about Westminster since Thatcher came to power and its been getting stronger.
It’s our democracy and we want change.

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