IoS letters, emails & online postings (18 March 2012)

 

Share

The parliamentary passage of the Health and Social Care Bill has been an embarrassment to democracy.

Experts in health policy and the law have published evidence in leading peer-reviewed medical journals explaining how the Bill, despite amendments, will lead to the abolition of the NHS in England. It will facilitate the transition from a single-payer tax-funded system to a mixed-funding system, with increasing privatisation of healthcare. These drastic changes undermine the founding principles of the NHS and have no democratic mandate from the electorate and were not part of the coalition agreement.

As healthcare professionals, we are appalled that the coalition has imposed many of the changes before the Bill has even been enacted, and then tried to use this as evidence that the professions support its reform. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Government has systematically failed to make the case for such radical change to the NHS, which has recently been shown to be one of the most cost-effective and highly performing healthcare systems in the world, enjoying its highest ever public satisfaction rates.

None of the major healthcare representative organisations and professional associations supports the reforms, and most would like to see the Bill withdrawn. From the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to the British Geriatrics Society, health professionals agree that the reforms will damage and fragment the NHS, widen inequalities and worsen patient care.

Despite such concern and opposition to this complex, flawed and potentially dangerous legislation, the coalition has repeatedly blocked the publication of the NHS risk register and is pushing ahead with the Bill, which is likely to be granted Royal Assent on Tuesday.

We believe MPs and peers have placed the political survival of the coalition above professional opinion, patient safety and the will of the country. The Liberal Democrat leadership ignored the democratic view of its spring conference, continuing to support a Bill that betrays the proud heritage of Beveridge's vision of the welfare state. It has colluded with its Conservative coalition partners and utilised all the political dark arts of obfuscation, deceit and media manipulation to confuse and conceal the Bill's underlying objectives in order to force it through. Liberal Democrat peers have even voted against their own amendments.

Shocked by the failure of the democratic process and the role played by the Liberal Democrats in the passage of this Bill, we have formed a coalition of healthcare professionals to take on coalition MPs at the next general election, on the non-party, independent ticket of defending the NHS and acting in the wider public interest.

Dr Clive Peedell and Dr Jacky Davis

Co-chairs, NHS Consultants' Association

Professor John R Ashton

Liverpool John Moores University

Professor Wendy Savage

Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Middlesex University

and 236 others; read this letter in full and with all signatories' names here

As Janet Street-Porter implies, public opinion is more progressive than the religious institutions in its preparedness to see equality enshrined in a new law allowing gay marriage ("Marriage is dying, but let gay couples have it, all the same", 11 March).

Any vociferous opposition to gay marriage is an unwise move by both Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, since it casts the spotlight on religious intransigence and, if this debate goes on to become more heated, raises questions about other religious practices. The institutionalisation of celibate priests, for example, and the veneration of saintly relics are practices which arguably skate on thin theological ice. In other words, "Don't cast the first stone."

Elizabeth J Oakley

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

The slashing of public funding for university teaching and trebling of student fees will effectively privatise higher education ("45,000 students caught cheating in exams", 11 March). With a degree, rather than learning, as the product, too many students will seek to learn at a surface level, seeking short cuts to the required marks and the "product" they have paid for. Expediting its delivery will not necessarily be seen as cheating.

That this "product" is delivered via assessments set and marked by the same organisation that takes the payment from customers who expect to be "always right" can only make matters worse.

Peter McKenna

Manchester Metropolitan University

Chris Maume is wrong to suggest that the proposal to close 6 Music was the BBC Trust's ("In 6 Music we trust ...", 11 March). A proposal for the station's closure was put to the Trust, and the Trust rejected it, largely owing to the fact that the station is genuinely distinctive and offers listeners something that they can't get elsewhere.

Nicholas Kroll

Director, BBC Trust

London W1

Corrections and clarifications

In editing the letter last week from descendants of the stoker William Mintram, we stated that he had survived the Titanic disaster. In fact, he gave up his life jacket to his son-in-law, and perished. We apologise to his family for this error.

Have your say

Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020-7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2012/March/18

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links