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representative organisations and professional associations supports the reforms, and most would like to see the Bill withdrawn.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

IT Support - Hampshire - £24,000

£19000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

SAS Developer - DI Studio - Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Developer, Chester, Banking, DI Studio, £450-...

Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The No campaign has a classic advertising problem: they need to turn a negative into a positive

John Hegarty
 

August catch-up: genius of Apple, fools and commercial enterprises, and the Queen

John Rentoul
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone