Parliament: Tories accuse Dobson of fear tactics

HEALTH SERVICE

FRANK DOBSON, the Secretary of State for Health, was bitterly accused of extending "control freakery" to the National Health Service by the Tories yesterday, who claimed he was creating a "climate of fear" to meet his pledge to reduce hospital waiting lists.

Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative health spokeswoman, attacked Mr Dobson for "fiddling the figures" while patients were being "diddled", resulting in an "army of trolleys" in hospital corridors.

But Mr Dobson, opening a debate on the Queen's Speech, said Ms Widdecombe was deliberately carrying out a "smear" campaign against NHS staff responsible for compiling the lists.

"Every single one of their [the Tories'] claims have been proved to be untrue. They make their allegations, they don't check on the facts, so they smear the hard-working staff who they say are fiddling the figures," he said.

Mr Dobson went on to stress that the planned creation of "primary care groups", as outlined in the speech, which would number about 50 GPs serving 100,000 people, would make the NHS more patient-centred and less dominated by institutions.

In an attempt to break down the "Berlin wall" between health and community care, trusts will receive a single budget, enabling them to decide whether to hire more community nurses to care for more people in their homes or spend more on prescribing to control medical conditions rather than sending patients to hospitals.

In angry clashes, Ms Widdecombe said GPs were being dragooned into the primary care groups in a "bulk rather than gradually" which would result in the system "going wrong all at once. Many family doctors are unwilling to co-operate with Government plans to conscript them into these groups because they know that patient care will be adversely affected as GPs are turned into glorified accountants ... and will mean the end of family doctors as we know them in many areas of the country," she said.

Arguing for a new system of waiting lists that would identify particular groups of diseases, Ms Widdecombe branded the Queen Speech proposals on health a "blueprint for centralised, bureaucratic control". "This Government's priority is not patient care but control freakery. These proposals will... create an NHS where ministers have all the power and none of the responsibilities," she said.

Later in the debate, Michael Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, condemned the Government for edging back to policies that had failed the country in the past.

In a wide-ranging attack on Labour's legislative agenda, Mr Heseltine claimed the Blair administration was "very much the successor of the Attlee government of 1945", because it had "big ideas" which would take "50 years to get rid off".

Mr Heseltine, a prominent Europhile, said the "most chilling aspect" was the Government's tacit encouragement of a federalist agenda for Europe through devolution. He said those aiming for the federalist agenda wanted to "bypass the nation state because they realise that if they can regionalise Europe, then they can exercise a much more pervasive influence from Brussels...

"[The Commons] will become increasingly less important as the power is shifted with the money towards a regional ... Europe...that concept of Europe is fed, wittingly or unwittingly, by what this Government is doing in breaking up the coherence of the UK," he said.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Infrastructure / Network Engineer (VMware, Windows, LAN/WAN)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Primary teaching jobs in Thetford

£1036224 - £1513056 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Educatio...

Primary teaching jobs in the Swaffham area

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Are you a fully quali...

Year 1 Teachers needed for day to day roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week