Well tornados may still be devastating America but we have our own whirlwind of activity on this side of the Atlantic as the NHS listening exercise draws to a close.
Big Society NHS’ new website just keeps on growing. If you want to add your name to the graphic click here.
On Wednesday they managed to get an advert promoting their petition into The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Metro and the Daily Express.
At the time of writing they had nearly 420,000 signatures. There is still time to make your voice heard; sign their petition here.
40 charities have this week said that the proposed changes must be revised in order to protect the most vulnerable patients.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations said this week that “The voluntary sector is a valuable source of expertise in helping to design health services that meet the needs of local people.”
They have also said that it is vital that GP consortia work with the local voluntary sector to best involve and cater for the needs of patients.
As previously mentioned by Big Society NHS, the private healthcare group, Circle, is one of the big players in the reforms.
They have recently been commissioned to take over the financial side of Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire to help relieve its struggling finances.
However, they have no experience in running a district hospital. Their preferred income comes from routine operations at a privately run hospital competing for NHS patients. How and if they succeed could pave the direction for future hospital take-overs.
After his earth-shattering defeat with the AV vote and at local elections earlier this month Mr Clegg has been looking for a popularity bandwagon onto which to jump. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how things go, for us he chose the NHS.
He has announced that the Bill will go back to the committee stage and could take another six months before legislation is made. He said it would be “wrong to bounce the Bill through parliament”.
However in true Tory style they have announced some red lines over which they say they are refusing to budge; 3 of which handily contradict what Clegg said in his speech.
- The Government should do nothing that stands in the way of private providers or charities supplying care”.
Mr Clegg said there would be “no sudden, top-down opening up of all NHS services to any qualified provider”
- “Statutory responsibility must transfer from the top-down bureaucracy to GP consortia by April 2013″.
Mr Clegg said there should be “no arbitrary deadline”
- The requirement for all GPs to take on these new responsibilities, right across England “there must be no two-tier NHS”.
Mr Clegg said the change from PCTs to GP consortia should be introduced in a “planned, phased way”.
If there are large scale amendments to the Bill, it is likely that Andrew Lansley may quit the cabinet as he becomes isolated from his opinions on the NHS.
Marches have taken place in Leeds and Sheffield over cuts to the NHS budget.
The King’s Fund has presented a paper detailing the reforms it believes are necessary to provide more integrated patient care.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned that the reforms may undermine child protection, as there is little stress on the importance of integration between health, social care and other public services such as policing and schools.
With Steve Fields to start writing his report in the next few days, it won’t be long before our Big Society finds out the consequences of the listening exercise.