Nurses chief rejects Andrew Lansley's claims

 

The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said he "utterly
rejects" a Government claim that opposition to the health Bill is
actually about pensions.

Dr Peter Carter reacted angrily to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's claim that the RCN was "having a go" about pay and pensions.

Yesterday, all the major health unions - representing doctors, nurses and midwives - stressed their "outright opposition" to the Health and Social Care Bill, currently going through Parliament.

They have expressed concerns about reforms in the Bill, including allowing NHS hospitals to raise up to 49% of their income from private patients.

They argue that the Bill dramatically increases the role of the private sector in providing healthcare and is destabilising the NHS.

All agree that doctors and other staff should be given a role in organising services but say the Bill in its current form is costly and not in the interests of patients.

Mr Lansley told BBC Breakfast this morning that opposition to the Bill was more about issues of pay and pensions.

He said the legislation was "essential in order to give nurses and doctors clinical leadership".

He added: "I'm afraid the only thing that has happened in the last few weeks that has led to this situation with the Royal College of Nursing is that the two sides of the Royal College of Nursing have shifted.

"They used to be a professional association that was working with us on professional issues and will carry on doing that, but now the trade union aspect of the Royal College of Nursing has come to the fore, they want to have a go at the Government - I completely understand it - but they want to have a go about things like pay and pensions."

He said the Government had consulted widely with staff about the Bill.

"Through the NHS Future Forum we have been out there, making sure, and doing it ourselves time and again, that we're taking staff with us in terms of understanding these issues.

"And the RCN and the RCM (Royal College of Midwives) are very clear that they support the principles of the Bill. What they are actually unhappy about is pay, pensions and jobs. I complete understand that.

"But if there were no Bill the same issues would have to be addressed. We inherited a deficit, we are having to manage the NHS within limited increases, but actually next year the NHS budget is going to go up by 2.8%."

However Dr Carter, RCN chief executive, rejected this argument.

"We utterly reject the claim that the RCN's decision to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill was based around the proposed pension changes.

"Nurses want to provide the highest possible standards of patient care and it is at the heart of everything they do.

"However, members up and down the country are telling us that this Bill is seriously destabilising the NHS.

"Equally, we know that tens of thousands of posts are being lost throughout the NHS, which is putting patient care in jeopardy and that there is now a fundamental imbalance between competition and collaboration within the NHS."

He said carrying on with the reforms - at a time when the Government has told the NHS it must find £20 billion in efficiency savings is "quite simply, the wrong thing to do".

He added: "We are disappointed that the Secretary of State would suggest that nurses and healthcare assistants would put self interest before that of patients."

Yesterday, the RCM said the the Bill was "divisive and costly".

Chief executive Cathy Warwick said: "This Bill is a massively expensive distraction from the challenges that the NHS faces in trying to improve healthcare at a time of severe spending restraint.

"The Royal College of Midwives supports many of the Government's aspirations for the NHS, such as clinically-led commissioning, greater engagement of service users in their care and more integrated services, but the fact of the matter is that these can all be achieved without the need for this divisive and costly Bill.

"Independent analysts have calculated that implementing the provisions in the Bill will cost the NHS an extra £2 billion to £3 billion on top of the £20 billion in efficiency savings the NHS has to find in the next four years.

"The Government has failed to present sufficient evidence that its proposals are necessary. They have failed to present evidence that the upheaval will result in an improvement in services to the people of England. And, they have failed to answer the concerns of the people who fear for the future of the NHS under these plans.

"Breaking up what we have, embracing the private sector, and injecting full-blown competition and market forces is not what the NHS needs or what health professionals and patients want.

"We join the growing chorus of voices calling for the Bill to be withdrawn, and the proposed reforms stopped in their entirety."

Unite's head of health Rachael Maskell said: "It is wrong and misleading of the Health Secretary to muddy the waters by claiming that the opposition to the Bill is linked to the current dispute over public sector pensions.

"This Bill is a completely separate matter which health professionals have considered very carefully and now decided that this Bill is flawed and should be scrapped.

"Doctors and now nurses and midwives have now joined all the other professionals - pharmacists, scientists, health visitors, hospital chaplains, and speech and language therapists - in opposing the Bill."

Unison's head of health Christina McAnea said: "Nurses, midwives, professional bodies and patients are all warning that this Bill is a danger to the NHS as we know it.

"This Bill will lead to fragmentation, instability and inequity in the NHS.

"It is wasting billions of taxpayers' money in pointless bureaucracy, as health workers lose their jobs, waiting lists grow and operations are cancelled."

PA

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

ICT Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

DT Design and Technology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on