“More choice and more competition will lead to benefits for patients” say Lib Dems


                    The NHS has always relied heavily on the private sector. When it was set up the GPs were not nationalised. They remain to this day as independent contractors working for the NHS, but some can and do undertake their own private work as well. Hospital Consultants may also undertake work in  the private sector in addition to their NHS duties. All the drugs supplied to the NHS come from  profit making competing companies.  For many years governments of all three parties have used private sector cleaners, caterers, maintenance services, builders and professional services consultants on a large scale.

                   Labour during its last period in office widened the scope of private sector work, by encouraging private sector providers of clinical services to come forward to help clear waiting lists and backlogs of work.

                  The Lib Dems website acknowledged all this and supported the use of charities and private sector companies where this can strengthen choice, raise quality, and keep costs under control. They said:

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “Focus the NHS on the results it actually delivers for patients by allowing the best people – whether from the public, independent or charitable sectors – to deliver the care which patients needs”

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “Both the Conservative (p27) and Lib Dem¬† (p 42)Manifestos promised that new social enterprises would be created to deliver NHS services.¬† The Conservative (p45) and Lib Democrat (p42)¬†manifestos promised that all types of providers – NHS, voluntary or independent sector- would be free to deliver NHS services.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “We want patients to be able to choose to be treated wherever they want to be – whether it’s an NHS hospital, or one in the voluntary or private sectors. This is because more choice and more competition will lead to benefits for patients”

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “The NHS has never been a single, national organisation. It has always been made up of hundreds and thousands of different organisations and individuals – many of them from the independent sector…”


  1. lifelogic
    May 13, 2011

    The main bit of the NHS that need removing is the bit that taxes all the money in advance then give a little of it back in treatments when they feel like it. Let people choose and pay at the time of use it with just a safety net for people who really cannot pay.

    Also get rid of quack medicine in the NHS and most cosmetic surgery. When people pay at the time of use then they can choose who to use too and will demand good service and treatment.

    1. Bazman
      May 14, 2011

      I suppose by this argument you would be in favour of toll roads?
      Who can actually afford to pay healthcare costs? The countries health would be in a dire state and what about people who just will or cannot pay or take out insurance. Tell us unequivocally what their fate will be in your ‘ safety net’.

  2. Mike Stallard
    May 13, 2011

    I am learning now. In politics, “We want local people to make decisions in the Big Society,” means “Shut up, do what we say and we will consider what we will give you.”
    “We are a progressive party bringing the UK into the 21st century,” means, “We are terrified of the Unions and the Civil Service and we are utterly determined to keep things exactly as they are at the moment, however bad.”
    “We are going to reduce Labour’s Debt,” means “Spend, spend, spend.”
    Do you know what? I think the politicians actually mean what they say and that makes it worse.

  3. lifelogic
    May 13, 2011

    I hear that David Laws (double first Economics, King Cambridge in understand) believes in small government. If so one wonders why he is in the Liberal party. Still one in the Cabinet might be good. but looking at the reported fact of his expenses claim there seems to be no mitigating factors. He clearly knew what he was intentionally doing whatever the claimed motive and he clearly gained financially. The fact that he might have gained more by doing it another way is totally irrelevant.

    The fact the Ashdown, Cameron, Clegg and others are so keen to defend him rather demeans them yet further in my eyes. Are they really so short of talent that they need this man, clearly of such bad judgement, so urgently.

    1. norman
      May 13, 2011

      Condoning a serial expenses (offender -ed) by placing him in the Cabinet would be the death knell for the Liberal Democrats. Conservative voters could probably justify it on the lines of ‘well, he’s really one of us at heart but he has Lib Dem after his name so it’s not impugning on our party’s reputation’ so Cameron may well do it.

      Nick Clegg is so completely out of his depth and politcally naive he would probably allow it.

      1. lifelogic
        May 14, 2011

        I agree he even continued this claiming after all the expenses stuff had exploded in the all the papers for months on end. Do these MP’s not realise that many voters have to bring up a family on less far less than their rent and travel expenses. They have to pay tax and NI on their income too.

        How can they remain so out of touch?

  4. David Jones
    May 13, 2011

    It really is about time that this information was stressed within debates in the House. It is not good enough that Labour get away with ‘you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS’. The strongest union in the UK has always been the BMA and it is about time that this was acknowledged. On another point – nurses are now over qualified form fillers – the nursing is done by ‘care assistants’. My daughter-in-law is a trauma sister in Gibraltar and the hospital has abandoned exchanges with nurses in UK because they are very reluctant to nurse patients in Gib!!

    1. alan jutson
      May 13, 2011


      Yes, we never get to hear this side of the argument in the media at all do we.

      Once again it is selective reporting by those organisations who seem to have their own hidden Socialist agenda.

      Perhaps nurses lost out on some of the hands on skills when they were all encouraged to go to university to be qualified, rather than starting on the wards and working their way up through the ranks as they gained experience.

      Many experienced (near to retirement) nurses I either know, or with whom I have had conversations, say that hands on nursing is now a thing of the past, and new entrants simply do not learn those patient skills as used to be taught.

      Anyone who has had a relative in hospital for some time would recognise the difference to times past, whilst knowledge of medical science, opeations, equipment and drugs have improved to amazing degrees, simple personal care by staff to patients has in many cases dropped.

      1. lifelogic
        May 14, 2011

        Indeed many just not even being fed properly.

        1. Bazman
          May 15, 2011

          Why should they be fed? Are nurses now waiters? Are Hospitals now restaurants? They would have to eat food at home paid for by themselves. If the local restaurants were allowed to supply the hospitals standards would rise. Why are we stopping top chefs or the local cafe’ from providing food and giving to patients choice?. Private hospitals often have five star food this is what we should be following and if the patient can’t afford this then the good charity of the local people will provide. using your previous ‘logic’

          1. alan jutson
            May 15, 2011


            Not being fed was probably a remark about helping those patients feed, who could not feed themselves. Like the victims of a stroke.

            In such a case it matters not who cooks the food.

            I can give you many examples of not giving aid in the basics, having visited my Mother who was in Hospital for 10 months attempting to recover from a series of strokes.

            Food left on a tray at the bottom of her bed when she was completlely paralised and could not move. I visted her 5 days a week to ensure she got fed.
            For many other patients, food was collected uneaten, with a comment “are we off our food today then”

            Requests for bedpans not answered, so patients then soiled themselves. I could go on, but I am sure you get the drift.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    May 13, 2011

    All those quotes from the LibDems are just as meaningful as their pledge to oppose any rise in tuition fees i.e. not worth the paper they were written on. By all means expose their duplicity but don’t expect them to behave differently than the unprincipled rabble they are.

  6. electro-kevin
    May 13, 2011

    The Lib Dems seem pretty stuffed to me – over tuition fees mainly. However, they can inflict a lot of damage on the Tories with their dishonest twaddle.

    Keep pushing home their many public statements that ‘Labour have left us in a financial mess.’

    PS. I’m not so sure that the private sector has been successful in the prevention of MRSA. Getting jobs done by people on minimum wage is not always ‘value for money’.

    PPS. On another subject entirely. I do hope that the Tory party will not confuse Bob Crow’s militant London RMT with the rather more gentlemanly train driver’s union Aslef in the forthcoming McNulty upheavels. It seems that The Times is already rather keen to do this.

  7. Str0ngholdBarricades
    May 13, 2011

    There is one fundamental issue within the NHS

    There are too many vested interests, and when things go wrong there is no one accountable

    Everyone just keeps cashing the cheques

  8. David John Wilson
    May 13, 2011

    There is a huge problem with the NHS using private suppliers. Somehow costs need to be chosen to give the best return to tax payers rather than maximum profit to one or more of the private bodies involved.

    Take for example prescriptions. Why are the generic versions so rarely prescribed? I recently had to purchase over the counter an item which I have been prescribed regularly for a number of years. I asked for it by name but when I expressed surprise at the high price the pharmacist offered me the generic version at a third of the price, explaining that it was exactly the same. This makes me question who other than the manufacturer is making a profit from the generic version not being on my previous prescriptions?
    Can we anticipate an expansion of such profit making into other areas of the NHS as a result of the proposed changes?

    1. forthurst
      May 13, 2011

      The only problem I can foresee is that the NHS does not actually make anything. I do not think GPs are permitted to nominate brands of generic drugs; by definition, they are all the same. Drug companies, however, after their patent has expired, often introduce variants in order to retain a market share.

      Doctors can only prescibe items in he National Formulary as constrained by their local PCT; it may be that for your item, only one version is in the NF, especially as it appears to be an OTC item, which might therefore by a propritary mixture, so even if the pharmacist were correct in nominating an exact equivalent, your doctor might not be allowed to prescribe it. I think you will find that the NHS does attempt to constrain the costs of prescribing and the drug companies try their best to maximise their profits.

  9. REPay
    May 13, 2011

    We should not be funding doctors’ and senor managers’ pensions so generously. There are tens of thousands of NHS employees earning more than six figures and this money if fully pensionable (i.e. the Tax Payer will fund a pot equivalent to a million plus…) The original Tory manifesto pledge was to cap public sector pensions at 60k…I think this is dead post-Hutton.

  10. Alte Fritz
    May 14, 2011

    I can see no reason why most peole should not pay a fixed fee to see their GP. No one expects to get in to watch a football match for nothing. The high rates of ‘no shows’ at the GP demonstrates that by no means are all appointments needed.

    No one will propose this, but I would wager that most GPs would agree if only in the hope that they could concentrate on some people who are unwell.

    As for A & E, if someone turns up because they had overindulged in drinks or drugs, should the state patch them up for nothing? Not the easiest thing to define properly, but since whole TV programmes are based on the misuse of A & E let’s acknowldge that there is a problem to tackle.

    The NHS has become a default option for people who will pay for what they eant but not what they need.

    1. Bazman
      May 14, 2011

      They simply will not go to their GP’s in the long run causing themselves and the country untold problems and cost. The GP is the gate keeper to the NHS. Not everyone shares your sensible middle class view of the world.

  11. Bazman
    May 14, 2011

    Why not just get rid of the NHS and leave it to the insurance industry?
    If you look on the internet you will find films of crash test footage on cars with almost non-existent safety features. One is even advertised as being for the more careful driver forgetting to mention the other drivers. Many are Chinese and illegal in Europe. Elf and safety gone mad.
    If all crash test legislation were to be withdrawn and car companies were allowed to set the level of safety for their cars would it be right to allow the individual to choose the level of safety for their vehicle as they saw fit and could afford?

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