Wednesday 15 February 2012

Oh come on Shirley!

Shirley Williams may be verging on a National treasure but she is totally wrong on competition in the Health Bill as reported in the Guardian yesterday ( so must be true? ) . She is arguing that the entire Part 3 of the Bill- all the competition clauses should be dropped.

This would be a disaster for the country's charities. Many of us are tired of the gross assumption that

# competition is only about the private sector.

# and that citizen choice is not important.

Whose side do the politicians want to be on? The producer or the citizen? Is it not ironic that a respected social democrat is pitching on behalf of a state monopoly against extending choice for the citizen?

Part 3 , as amended after my report on Choice and Competition is about giving life to the NHS Constitution promise of more choice. How do you get more choice unless you have a diversity of providers. Is it fair that the only choice you get is what you are given?

My group spent 3 months reviewing the choice and competition clauses in the Bill. We made a number of important changes which the Government implemented. We said we did not want the entire section 3 of the Bill dropped. We said that there would be advantage in properly managed competition as a means of ensuring diversity and so choice. Trying to go back on all the work of the Future Forum is very frustrating to those of us who spent this time examining this in detail.

So those who support removing "competition" clauses , answer this please. Do you think it is right that when the majority of people at the end of their life want to die at home or in a hospice , they die in a hospital bed ( and at greater cost to the NHS ! ).

Why are we not creating new markets for long term conditions to encourage more charities to expand the work they do supporting and advising citizens to manage their condition? We need integrated services and commissioning to achieve the best

I'm tired of the way this debate is characterised as all about the private sector. I'm fed up that respected politicians who effectively ignore our sector and promote actions that will damage it and the services we provide for patients and citizens.

Let's hope Shirley has been misquoted!

Competition is not a disease.

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