Response to Question Time twitters

I have received around 20 emails from people wishing me to know they disagree strongly with the Health Bill. Apparently there was a campaign as I stated on the BBC that I had received very few emails on this topic from constituents. None of the latest have written from a Wokingham constituency address, so I am assuming they are all non constituents. If any constituent does wish me to consider objections to the Bill or wants me to take matters up with Mr Lansley, I remain as always very happy to do so and will reply personally to you as I always do. I would be grateful for you to include your address so I can see you are a constituent.

The remaining non constituency emails mainly confirm that there are opponents of the Bill, as we know from polls, media interviews and other communications. I have never denied that there are opponents to the legislation. I have always encouraged discussion and negotiations between Ministers and NHS executives and medical staff to seek to get this right and to work harmoniously together.

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14 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I am not a constituent but object to the bill only as it does not go anywhere near far enough. We need, at the very least, to start charging those who can afford to pay and to introduce systems that make the funds follow those patients who need real (not alternative, ineffective or vanity) treatments. With tax reductions to compensate.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Your “Government’s case” for the Health Bill was clear and convincing enough and whilst appreciating that it might be a lot of work for you, it would be good if you could show us your Summary again with the opposition’s contrary case (not necessarily just per your recent e-mails) beneath each point.

    I am not one of your constituents but write as someone who has a) worked for years in America where believe it or not they do have healthcare and b) worked in (and been a grateful hospital patient of) the NHS and I well remember my first visit to a Primary Care Trust – this well before the first mooting of the Health Bill – when I rapidly took the view that whilst obviously the task of allocating the overall NHS budget is daunting what the advantages are of having SHA and PCT intermediaries involved are hard to discern. They were paper factories. I trust the doctors.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      The main criticism of the summary John Redwood provided was that it bore no resemblance to reality. Under the Health bill consortias mostly run by private companies, not GP will be deciding where patients go; and as the NHS has to save £20 billion it’s unlikely that patients will receive the best treatment and will mostly likely receive the cheapest.

      Other things not mentioned in the summary are that GPs already have the power to refer patients to a wide variety of hospitals and that the new consortias will have the power to declare that any treatment isn’t available on the NHS.

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I am not a constituent, although I was and probably will be again soon. My main objection is that it gives far too much power to GP’s, who as David Starkey started to highlight on Newsnight are far from perfect in this country at the moment. Power should have been given in real and direct senses to patients and not to their GP’s. I also feel more people should be prepared to be honest about how bad the NHS is, its sacred cow status is getting beyong a joke, I am not for or against it for idealogical reasons I am simply appauled at the quality of care compared to other developed countries. My own instinct is to move further to a state backed medical insurance system which covers all as now, pay in according to ability, and pay out according to need, but get the state out of the business of running providers of care, and give the patients absolute choice where to spend their health spend.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted March 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      and GP’s listed on the NHS website having more than 20 % less clinical, 30 + % less asthma, 10 % less diabetes, 10 + % less organisational, 10% + less CHD, 10% + less hypertension ratings according to the official NHS ratings, especially if all the patient feedback is significantly less than national averages, should be having significant regulatory pressure applied or being shut down and not handed more power in the NHS. I can tell you my practise meets these criteria and it staggers me that they are allowed to continue in business never mind giving them more power.

  4. Bob
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Will the NHS continue to pay for tattoo removals, IVF, elective cosmetic surgery and height adjustments such as this:

    I longed to be an air hostess – so I had my legs stretched
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-138865/I-longed-air-hostess–I-legs-stretched.html#ixzz1oBIrRRTn

    • uanime5
      Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Only if your GP feels you need this treatment, and by GP I mean the consortia that decides who the NHS budget will be spent.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Shows the power of the BBC John.

    A few words from you that no one has complained, then you get some letters and “e” mails.

    Wonder if those people sent them to their own MP, or even Mr Lansley ?

  6. stred
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The NHS is such a national treasure that perhaps it should be extended to cover the health of pets. Imagine a National Vetinary Service.

    Owners would pay in advance into a communal fund according to their ability to pay. To those unable to pay or new arrivals to the country the service would be free. The service would be administered by a very large Ministry and two levels of pet health trusts, which will prioritise your pets health needs and control the way in which treatment is allocated. In addition a quango spending as much on public relations as in research, will assess the effectiveness of treatments and make sure that your pet’s quality of life is assessed and that treaments are not wasted on half dead dogs and cats.

    It will be necessary to register with one vetinary clinic in your area and they will be paid £65 every year for the privilege and for calling your pet in for preventive medicine. You will probably stay on their list even if you move or your pet dies. It will not be possible to visit any other vet, unless they accept you and are able to accept your registration. Difficult pets may be refused at their disgression.

    In order to be seen by a vet it will be necessary to telephone and wait half a week if you wish to chose a particular vet, who may just remember your dog, cat, hamster or budgie.

    They will write a prescription for drugs which will cost over £7 per item and necessitate a visit to a separate pharmacy. If treatment is needed the clinic will normally refer your pet to another vetinary consultant who may be able to see your pet after a few weeks.

    These consultant vets may be so good at their job that they may be paid merit bonuses, which they may propose for each other. They may also do work in their spare time as private vets, so if the delay is too worrying, you can always pay them again. In this way they may be able to double their earnings, so as they are the best paid in Europe, you may be assured that they will be of the highest quality. Many vets will have come from all over the wold, including impoverished nations, attracted by the high earnings and standards.

    The treatment your pet recieves will be decided by the consultant, who may chose not to follow the advice of their professional bodies. For example, if your dog goes mad, they may decided to use recovered memory, despite the advice from their college that this is unreliable and does not work. 30% of dog psychiatrists do so. The rights of your mad dog will be respected and he or she will normally be allowed to disconinue treatment and be let out of the kennels. Other consultants may try a variety of treatments for other conditions, according to their own opinion- never yours.

    Your pet will, if lucky, be treated in a modern clinic, hired from a private company at a cost many times the building value. The latest attempts at hygiene will be used in an attempt to reduce the high rate of infection by resistant bacteria. The clinic will employ many highly paid executives and managers in order to achieve an efficient and effective treatment.

    If your pet suffers or dies you may firstly take the matter up with the clinic, then, if not satisfied, with the General vVetinary Council and finally sue. This may take some time and the vets dealing with the matter may tend to see things from their own point of view. Vets may be allowed to continue to practise for many years, even when their own colleages make complaints.

    The system may shortly be about to improve. A non-top down reorganisation will allow managing trusts to be removed and purchasing will beplaced under the control of the local vets, who understand the needs of you pet better. They will be able to manage the system in the time left between treatment by employing private managing consultants, who may well be less expensive than those who have been made redundant. The original managers may well be employed in the new consultancies so your money will be well spent. A new national and regional monitoring service will manage checks on the new managing consultants and the managing local vets.

    You may wish to continue to pay privately, but will still have to pay for the national insurance scheme.

    Bargain!

  7. Steven Whitfield
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    On the subject of BBC’s Question time…

    There has been some discussion on this site about immigration and whether it has, or not been somewhat ‘swept under the carpet’ .

    The question posed by a member of public was “Isn’t it time we accepted that in many of our major cities , racial segregation is a fact of life. ?
    He then went on to comment. “Politicians for decades have tried to pretend that integration will work”.

    I class myself as a supporter of John Redwood and think he would make an excellent prime minister – but his whitewashing of this topic does him no credit whatsoever.

    Mr Redwood’s reply,

    “I loathe racial abuse and racial tension”

    Why do politicians feel the need to start any discussion where race is concerned by stating the obvious fact that racism and racial tension are a very bad and wicked things. Myself, and I believe most right thinking people also strongly hold this opinion, so can we just take it as read from now on please ?. If we are discussing murder, burglary, or carjacking, would JR feel the need to state how much he loathe’s these ills aswell ?

    This kind of statement plays into the hands of PC liberals who believe that any view from a ‘right wingers’ is, by default, motivated by xenophobia and racism. We should ignore them and not make a play of displaying PC credentials to try to appease this kind of bigotry.

    “We all need to work tirelessly to ensure people do not use extreme language to inflame racial tension”. JR

    The problem with this wooly statement is that it does not define what is ‘extreme language’. Mr Redwood, by ‘extreme’, do you mean the measured discussion of immigration by Sir Andrew Green. ?. or the analysis done on resources and population growth by Professor Bartlett and Tullit Prebon ?. or a cleaning lady being concerned that it is now more difficult to find a job and her local school is now overcrowded because of the influx of childen with English as a second language ?

    Surely it is the politicians job to voice these peoples concerns and offer reassurance ?…not to say ‘just get on with it and try to be more tolerant’..which is what you are effectively saying.

    The sad fact is this kind of hysteria about ‘extreme language’ is creating fear in itself and effectively closing down debate and putting discussions off limits. Is it any wonder that individuals are turning to dubious organisations like the BNP?.

    It is the lack of dialogue, the breaking down in the bond of trust between politicians and the people that is fanning the flames of racial segregation.

    But why am I mentioning all this ?. Mr Redwood you had an opportunity to make some serious points on this subject on a national platform and you said absolutely nothing really beyond a series of meaningless platitudes.

    You could have said that controlled immigration has benefits – but that it is now, and has been far too high for too long making integration of newcomers almost impossible.
    You could have made the point that England is a tolerant and welcoming place – but if the scale of change is too fast or goes too far, people find this unsettling.
    You could have said that breakdown in security at our borders is unacceptable and must stop.

    Mr Redwood you could have argued a strong case for better immigration controls putting pressure on the coalition leaders to act faster. But you effectively sat on your hands and treated the audience (very uncharacteristically for you ) like they were children.

    Instead you brought up the old chestnut that England is ‘A nation of immigrants’ in an attempt to fill more air time without saying anything relevant .

    I hope that John Redwood allows this link to the migrationwatch website that debunks this myth rather well .

    http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/pressArticle/16

    The present scale of immigration is totally unprecendented in our nations history. I expected you to be more honest about this.

    Reply: I have often said that we need stronger border controls and need to cut the rate of new inward migration substantially. I chose to make a newer point instead on tv which you ignore. I said that England has been changed by the migrations of the last thirty years. We need to tell our national story, to make it a unifying force for all who are now settled here. I did not support segregation with segregated attidues and histories, but backed a common story which we can all buy into. That to me is the only way forward. There was no special need to revisit the argument in favour of a major reduction in inward migration, as the governemnt has adopted this as policy. There is a need to have a public debate about the means of achieving this, but that was not the issue in that particular tv discussion, short as it was.

    • rose
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      But someone from the ruling class needs to apologise for what has happened, and give people some hope, that far too late in the day, the problem will now be tackled. But they don’t. They are all cowed – or they don’t live and work where the frightening reality hits them every day.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Reply: I have often said that we need stronger border controls and need to cut the rate of new inward migration substantially. I chose to make a newer point instead on tv which you ignore. I said that England has been changed by the migrations of the last thirty years. We need to tell our national story, to make it a unifying force for all who are now settled here. I did not support segregation with segregated attidues and histories, but backed a common story which we can all buy into. That to me is the only way forward. There was no special need to revisit the argument in favour of a major reduction in inward migration, as the governemnt has adopted this as policy. There is a need to have a public debate about the means of achieving this, but that was not the issue in that particular tv discussion, short as it was.

      I don’t think anyone is seriously supporting segregation but unfortunately it is a natural consequence of the pace of change being too great ,and the wishes of the settled majority being overridden.
      As the questioner himself said ‘“Politicians for decades have tried to pretend that integration will work”.

      Mr Redwood, the point you made about uniting behind ‘a common story’ isn’t a new point at all. This has been the basis of government policy for the last 40 years – that England could be some kind of giant cultural melting pot of cultures that can absorb an almost unlimited amount of newcomers.

      The segregation in housing and opportunities that we see in Bradford, Coventry, Northampton,London etc. is a testamant to the failure of this policy.

      “There was no special need to revisit the argument in favour of a major reduction in inward migration, as the governemnt has adopted this as policy. There is a need to have a public debate about the means of achieving this, but that was not the issue in that particular tv discussion, short as it was.”JR

      Mr Redwood, I think you will find that migration and segregation are intimately linked – consider a town like Lincoln that has recently seen very high rates of migration.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037877/Boston-Lincolngrad-The-strange-transformation-sleepy-English-town.html

      We know that the coalition is now midterm and has comprehensively failed to get a grip on the immigration issue – despite making bold promises at the election. Ater two years are things suddenly about to change ?

      It is actions not policy commitments that matter – a fact that the coalition should have learned from the New labour experiment. As a Wokingham MP, I think you should have put the interests of the people you represent first before sparing the blushes of messrs May and Green.

  8. Barbara Stevens
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a constituant but follow your blog each day. As for the health bill, it was not hi-lighted by your government at all during the election hustings, in fact it proclaimed no top down alterations, we’ve seen the opposite. Quite frankly those of us who cannot afford private health care are worried, very worried, and trusting the Conservatives is at zero. Those in work cannot afford to pay for health care, personal debt is ravishing this country, and those who say we should pay are obviously well off and have no thoughts for those who are less well off. Greed again is manifesting it’s self, and those who are supping it up will eventualy choke on it.
    The fact is the majority of the country do not want this health bill, you say the government is listening, well if they are why are they pursuing it with such vigor. They are clearly not listening at all. For those who say we look upon the NHS as a prized cow, well we do, for we cannot affford to pay in any other form and if one is introduced like the USA, it will be resisted at full speed. As 50 million people have no health care over the pond I hardly think they are the ones to copy. Where and how will we fund the NHS? Stop silly wars, stop foreign aid, and make those who use the NHS and don’t pay for it, health tourists, @ some £55 million per year and getting larger. Giving our money away and desecrating our health service against the majority wishes will go down in history and won’t be forgot. Drop the bill and show real courage we’ll respect the Conservatives more if they did.

    • Steven Whitfield
      Posted March 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Comrade Barbera, where is the evidence that the Health Bill will lead to additional charges for NHS patients (outside of the party political propoganda issued by the Labour Party ?)

      I suppose those wicked tory toffs are also scheming to re-introduce workhouses and tax babymilk at 80p in the pound too.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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