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Crunch NHS vote on Wednesday

February 20th, 2012 by

Save the NHS Demonstration

Photograph by 38 Degrees

This Wednesday, there’s a crunch NHS vote in Parliament. MPs will vote on whether to demand the publication of a secret government report into the risks facing the NHS. That could be another nail in the coffin of Andrew Lansley’s plans – so let’s pile the pressure on our MPs to vote the right way.

Right now, Andrew Lansley is in a tricky position to defend. He wants MPs and Lords to back his plans for the NHS. But he’s refusing to let them find out what the risks are. If we work together to put our MPs under pressure, there’s a decent chance they’ll refuse to do Lansley’s dirty work for him.

This vote could go either way – send your MP an email asking them to back publishing the secret report – it takes two minutes.

Has your MP replied to your email? Share their answer in the comments section below, so that other 38 Degrees members can read what your MP said. Or if you’ve got ideas for how to reply to other MPs’ responses, you can share them here too.

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  • common

    There is a notified demo outside the emergency meeting called today by Cameron. The meeting is designed to save the Bill – and  excludes voices which do not support the Bill. Meet at 12 noon Downing Street.

  • Dr Stephanie Petrie

    Louise Ellman MP has replied to me consistently in personal signed letter from The House of Commons confirming her support and that she and Labour colleagues are pressing for the release of the risk register

  • Helenmccomb3

    Gloucester MP Richard Graham, Con, told me in November, when asked, that Andrew Lansley’s refusal to publish the risk report was not defensible,
    I have asked him to follow this conviction by voting to publish the risk report on Wednesday.

  • Stephen Clarke

    Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP, wrote back in November 2011 to the effect that he had written to Lansley requesting the release of the report. He added a final sentence, ‘Thank you for bringing this very important issue to my attention.’ Perhaps hundreds of other constituents had also brought it, but I think it shows that 38 Degrees’ efforts are winning friends.

  • JanetEds

    Cameron was given a hostile reception at the Victoria Hospital last week but it was all ultra hushed up.  The journalists were locked in a room!

    Here’s a link for some details:  http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.com/2012/02/full-story-of-camerons-visit-to-nhs.html

    The latest letter from my (Con) MP is more assurances etc. 

  • Jimsnowball

    The last time my MP Nigel Adams contacted me about the Bill he was squarely behind Lansley and Cameron. His voting in the House makes clear that he conforms every time to the Whips. I am not holding my breath. 38% degrees is doing a marvellous job. The Consumer is ” KING”

  • JanetEds

    And the dear BBC reported it by showing a hysterial old woman screaming at Lansley but hasn’t said the name of the Royal College of General Practicioners who were not invited to the Downing St meeting. 

  • Doug910

    I have just e-mailed my MP James Wharton to ask him to vote for the release of the Goverments secret risk report on the NHS but l wont be holding my breadth the last twice I have contacted him he didnt bother to reply and before that he just towed the party line. 

  • Lucy N

     And the dear BBC political correspondent on Today programme said it would be impossible to stop this bill being passed. Very balanced as usual: although there was no comment on anything other than the narrow focus of this ‘divide and rule” style meeting. 

    Mind, this gives a clear view of the government’s preferred way of encouraging and promoting healthcare – set experts against each other – aunt sallies and so on. Please someone explain why the RC of Surgeons support this effing bill?

  • Anonymous

    “And the dear BBC political correspondent on Today programme said it would be impossible to stop this bill being passed.”

    I think it’s time for 38 Degrees members to consider a Class Action against this government – on behalf of the country – on the following grounds:

    1 The government is implementing the Health Bill before it’s been passed by Parliament. This unconstitutional and an abuse of power. They are even saying the changes have gone so far that there’s no going back!

    2 They promised no re-organisation before the election, there was nothing about the re-organisation in their manifesto and nothing in the coalition agreement. This is electoral fraud.

    3 Opinion polls show the majority of the public are against these
    changes. They have no mandate.

    4 Since he was elected, Cameron has stuffed the Lords with new Tory peers, many of whom have vested interests in private health companies – who are now voting on the Bill in the Lords.This is corruption. 

    What do other members think?

  • srclark

    The conservative MP for Justin Tomlinson has replied to me, very swiftly to his credit. The response is unsurprisingly a standard Government line. Namely that the “Department has already published all risks connected to the Health and Social Care Bill in the Combined Impact Assessments”, and with regard to risk registers “To release these documents would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice”. Thus, I think it is fair to characterise him as a not supporting this specific cause.

  • pete

    I agree

  • Linmartinhaugh

    Steven McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is often quoted in the local newspaper as being a great supporter of the NHS.  However, he always toes the party line so I can’t imagine he has the courage to do anything different this time.

  • Jonesy

    I’ve yet to have a reply from the local Conseravtive MP Steve Brine. We’ll see though.

  • Andrew D Langford

    Dear Mr Langford
    Thank you for contacting me about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register’.
    I do understand your interest in this information. However, it is important to be clear what risk registers include and what they do not. Risks and benefits related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public domain in the Department of Health’s impact assessments, and are available on the Department’s website (www.dh.gov.uk by searching for ‘Health and Social Care Bill: combined impact assessments.’) These have been updated as recently as September. In contrast, the Departmental risk registers – which have not published – set out the full range of risks for all activity over which the Department of Health is responsible.
    Risk registers are used across Government. They set out financial and policy risks, as well as sensitive commercial and contractual risks. They are a tool through which information about risks, however improbable of becoming a reality, can be recorded to enable the risks to be managed and mitigated. They therefore play a critical role in the delivery of effective government.
    The Information Commissioner’s decision to order the release of the Department of Health’s risk registers therefore creates a precedent that would have implications across the whole of Government. There is a real danger that if risk registers are routinely released into the public domain, then risks would no longer be recorded accurately on them. Establishing this precedent would threaten the successful implementation of Government policy. After careful consideration, across Government, the Department of Health has decided to appeal the decision by the Information Commissioner.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
    Warm regards
    Nadhim

  • Jonesy

     Though I’ve just looked on the “public whip” and he has voted against party policy 4 times, out of a total of 390.

  • Highbaroque

    Dear Mr. Hughes,

     

    As
    you have contacted me in the past about the future of the NHS in
    Wycombe, I am writing today to let you know that a public consultation
    is being conducted
    by Buckinghamshire Health Care Trust about local services.

     

    The NHS proposals can be read here.
    There is a microsite about the proposals called Better Healthcare in Bucks
    here. Please consider attending the Wycombe
    consultation event taking place on 28th February at the King’s Centre on Desborough
    Road from 10am until 1pm. I will be there.

     

    This
    is our chance to have our say on the proposals which clinicians and
    managers have brought forward. It is vital that everyone interested
    in the future of
    Wycombe Hospital joins in the consultation process. Now is the time to
    speak up.

     

    Yours sincerely,

     

     

    Steve Baker MP

    Sent on behalf of Steve Baker

    By Tim Hewish

    Parliamentary Researcher to Steve Baker MP

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1635943673 Delia Shepherd

    every time i send to my MP james gray he gets a secretary to post back a mass produced load of whitewash– the only time i got  personal reply was when i replied to one of these pointing out he should have been de selected for bndoning his wife with cancer for his secretary- setting up home in same village & trying to kick her out of the family home with the children he abandoned so he could sell it- he also fiddled expenses..His reply was it was” unfair to criticise him…”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1635943673 Delia Shepherd

    does the C action possibly stop it or will it just siphon off protestors time &money? we went to local council’s meeting to ‘explain the bil & address concernsl’ -only one on panel objected –she told us some interesting info re private hospital suing our council for having ‘too highstandards’ for them to tender for ops…- the rest all yes-men- theaudience left without their concerns even addressed told due to the cuts they got to putup with it.. many elderly & they asked some very pertinant questions-

  • Cait.

    Have had this email response:

    Thank you for your email regarding the NHS.  I apologise for the brevity of this reply, but I have received a number of very similar emails on this subject and wished to acknowledge receipt of your comments prior to tomorrow’s vote.Yours sincerelyCaroline NokesCaroline Nokes MPHouse of Commons

    and i have replied:

    Your acknowledgement is appreciated, thank you.Can I ask if you will be voting to release the report? 

    She always answers me when i email/write to her – but she rarely agrees with anything i ask for and will sometimes send photocopies of things to show me why I’m wrong. 

  • Lucy N

     Interesting : the impact assessments have been updated “as recently as September” – so not recently at all. And all they would have to do is redact the so-called sensitive stuff about finance – or do they really mean they are scared that we could see the private health providers lining up to take our money.

    Anyway I think this would be fine precedent for future risk registers. Democracy needs accountability, and to have that we need transparency.

  • Steveparkes357

    My MP doesn’t like 38 Degrees much………………

    Dear Mr Parkes,
    Thank you for your email about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register.’ I understand that you are concerned about the NHS but I think this latest 38 degrees campaign is quite misleading.

    Before I talk about the risk register, I think it is important to point out that 38 Degrees have a questionable track record when it comes to providing campaigning evidence. You may remember that we were in correspondence a few months ago about the 38 Degrees NHS campaign, when I wrote that my colleague, Stephen Phillips QC MP, had shown how 38 Degrees had misrepresented their legal advice and refused to release the instructions they gave to their Junior Counsel. He also noted how no lawyer was willing to put their name to the legal advice that 38 Degrees had received. I think this puts the campaign group’s activities into serious question.

    With regards to your question about the risk register, it is important to understand exactly what the register is. It is an internal departmental document that sets out all of the potential risks identified by the Department of Health (DH) for the entire range of areas it is responsible for. These include financial risks, policy risks and sensitive commercial and contractual risks.  It is a means by which the Department focuses on risks and acts to mitigate them.

    Although the Government does recognise the public interest in this information, it needs to understand whether the public interest is best served by releasing this information, since the document could be misinterpreted and the risks dangerously overstated. This could weaken the Government’s ability to deliver the reforms in the best way. I should point out the last Labour Government refused to release the risk request after a Freedom of Information request in 2009. Late last year, the Information Commissioner ruled that the risk register should be released but gave the Government the right to appeal. The Department has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as possible. Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from its initial date in April to 5 and 6 March.

    In relation to the Government’s health reforms, I would like to assure you that the Government has been open and transparent about the results they will deliver. The DH has made many impact assessments that are open to everyone and were updated as recently as September. These assessments are available on the Department of Health’s website (www.dh.gov.uk) by searching for ‘Health and Social Care Bill: combined impact assessments.’

    I hope this is helpful. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,
    Andrew Griffiths MP
     

  • Chris Price

    My reply (David Morris, Tory) was pretty much the same except this is how mine ended:

    There is a real danger that if risk registers are routinely released into the public domain, then risks would no longer be recorded accurately on them. It could also lead to the publication of deeply misleading information. Establishing this precedent would threaten the successful implementation of Government policy. After careful consideration, across Government, the Department of Health has decided to appeal the decision by the Information Commissioner.While the Department remains of the view that there is information contained within the risk register that should not be disclosed for the reasons already set out, it is aware of the public and parliamentary interest in this issue. The Department has acknowledged that arriving at an early solution would be beneficial to all concerned.I am pleased that, for this reason, the Department has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as possible, while allowing of course for both sides to make the appropriate preparations. Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from its initial date in April, to a date in early March.I do not think it appropriate to comment further on this issue until the outcome of the Tribunal is known. The Department will respond when the Tribunal has made is its decision.  That is why I will be voting against the motion being brought forward to the House on Wednesday 22nd February. It is important to note that votes taken in opposition day debates are not binding on Government.

    This seems to make sense but I’m sure I’m being blinded by science. I knew which way he was going to vote before I sent the email.

  • Steve Parkes

    Reading through some other replies the following words seem to be the real sticking point….”sensitive commercial and contractual risks”….

    I believe that’s what is behind it their reluctance to be transparent, privatisation of the NHS will, inevitably, cost the taxpayer more while delivering a two tier system that benefits the wealthy at the cost of the poorest in our country.

  • Doug

    Our MP, Nadine Dorries, has previously declined to respond to any approaches for 38 Degrees campaigns, so I was surprised to receive the one below from her PA.

    “Thank you for contacting Nadine about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register’. Unfortunately, the misunderstanding contained in your email highlights the problem of such ‘click button’ campaigning.
     
    We do understand your interest in this information, as does the Department for Health and this is why the Combined Impact Assessment, which contains all the information associated with the risks of the Health and Social Care Bill, has been publicly available for some time. It was even updated in September to reflect changes made to the Bill as it progressed through Parliament.
     
    The document is available here:
     
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2011/09/impact-assessment-published/
     
    In contrast, the Departmental risk registers – which have not been published – set out the full range of risks for all activity over which the Department of Health is responsible. They set out financial and policy risks, as well as sensitive commercial and contractual risks. They are a tool through which information about risks, however improbable of becoming a reality, can be recorded to enable the risks to be managed and mitigated. They therefore play a critical role in the delivery of effective government.
     
    I hope this clarifies the situation and thank you again for taking the time to contact Nadine. If you have any further comments or other matters you would like to raise then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the office.”
     
    What makes me think that they have something to hide  .  .  .  ?

  • Lucy N

     And, of course, with privatisation comes secrecy because of commercial confidentiality: Freedom of Information does not cover private companies – so proving so-called efficiencies have been made will just become a question of spin. What will happen is that a commercial provider may slide quietly into bankruptcy as the shareholder run off with taxpayer’s dosh well before an administrator is called in.

    And so democracy continues to be eroded.

    This is also the hidden cost to the post-war social contract between the government and the people.

  • Ddiggler

    Here is a list of MPs and Lords who have vested interests in privatising the NHS

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.com/2012/02/nhs-privatisation-compilation-of.html

    Please circulate this as widely as possible

  • rover

    From my MP Andrew Percy:

    The debate on Wednesday is an Opposition Day debate. As I am sure you are aware the votes of these debates are not binding. The debate is likely to be little more than political knock about aimed at gathering maximum publicity for the Labour Party who themselves originally supported the NHS reforms we are proposing.I will attend the debate and I will follow it as much as possible but you should know the true context of it. I have an independent mind and I do vote against my own side when I feel strongly and when the vote actually has meaning, such as during the passage of legislation. This motion is non-binding and is politically motivated making it very hard for people from the Government side to support.The NHS reforms are important for many reasons. What is certainly is not about is ending the NHS or turning it over to the private sector. Indeed, it was the Labour Government who paid sweeteners to private health providers by way of the £250 million of NHS money they directed to them for operations and procedures that were never undertaken. Something we now plan to outlaw. It must also be remembered that Labour support cutting the NHS budget whereas the Coalition is increasing funding towards it.

  • Lucy N

     Interesting reply: in relation to Labour’s past record- two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I think Mr Percy is pretty politically motivated himself – so that’s a pot calling the kettle black.

     And claims that the coaltion is increasing funding “towards it” is pretty meaningless – the NHS is being asked to “save” over £20 million (as far as I can remember). “Save”= “Cut”. This kind of claim about increased funding is pure smoke ‘n’ mirrors: how the NHS is being funded is more important – and who’s pockets the money ends up in. Me, I don’t want it going the way of US providers who laugh all the way to the bank while who knows how many thousands of people suffer and die without care and treatment. Figures about this would be great.

  • Billlowery

     Thank you for your email and for expressing your concern
    about the future of our NHS under Mr Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.

     

    As you probably know Shadow Health Minister, Andy
    Burnham, has launched the successful ‘Drop the Bill’ campaign, which is
    receiving huge support across the Country. 
    Several weeks ago, we had a national campaign day for ‘Drop the Bill’
    and I was out with other Labour Party members, from North Tyneside
    Constituency, in Wallsend, knocking on doors and delivering leaflets about the
    campaign.

     

    This week there is an Opposition Day Debate about the
    Risk Register and the Bill, on Wednesday afternoon, and it will be Labour’s
    chance to, once again, take on the Government and challenge Mr Lansley’s  ill-conceived plans for the Health
    Service.  There is also an EDM, which I
    am supporting, to ask for the Risk Register to be published.

     

    Please be assured that as a Labour MP and as someone who
    cares about the NHS, I will continue to work, with my colleagues, to do
    everything we can to stop the Health and Social Care Bill’s progress through
    Parliament.

     

    Best wishes,

    Mary Glindon, MP
     

  • Jo

    From Caroline Lucas, my MP (UK’s first Green MP, Brighton Pavilion):

    Dear [my name], Thank you for your email and for contacting me about the NHS Risk Register. I wholeheartedly agree that the Secretary of State should publish any documents that reveal the extent of the damage that will be caused by his NHS proposals. It is cowardly and undemocratic for the Government to ignore the Information Commissioner on the issue of the risk register. They are also ignoring  health care professionals who, as you know, have been queuing up – as have MPs like myself – to tell the Government that the Health and Social Care Bill is a disaster. Above all, the Secretary of State for Health needs to listen to members of the public when they tell him how worried they are about the Bill as a whole. He needs to drop it and immediately halt any changes associated with this dangerous legislation. I asked the Secretary of Health last November to publish the risk register and am appalled that he has still not done so. You can read my question and his response below. So I have signed EDM 2659 (I did so just before recess and the online database has not been updated yet) and will continue to do what I can to represent the views of yourself and the huge numbers of other constituents that, like you, want to protect our NHS. I have voted against the Bill at every opportunity and please be assured I will continue to do so. I am also happy to support the opposition day debate about this on February 22nd and will be calling once again on the Government to scrap its disastrous plans for the NHS. Best wishes,Caroline

  • Lucy N

     What a straightforward reply – so good to read an MP writing their own words.

  • Janealeach

    Dear Jane Leach,
     
    Thank you for your email.  I do appreciate you letting me know your views and I will consider the representations I am receiving carefully before I decide how to vote on Wednesday on the NHS ‘risk report’.  I do recognise and understand the public interest in this very important matter.
     
    Yours sincerely,
     
    Peter Luff
     
    Peter Luff
    MP for Mid Worcestershire | Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology
    House of Commons, London, SW1A 
    01905 763952
     

  • Sarah Allman

    Reply from Matthew Hancock MP
    Thank you for contacting me about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register.’ This Government is committed to transparency and is publishing more information than ever before to help patients make the right choices about their care. That is why the Department has already published all risks connected to the Health and Social Care Bill in the Combined Impact Assessments. This was updated as recently as September 2011 and collectively makes up over 400 pages of detailed analysis. Risk registers are specific policy tools used across Government that present risks in ‘worst case scenario’ terms. They are used for the management of policy development and implementation across the private and public sectors. The information contained in the risk registers is integral to government policy-making.  To release these documents would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the public interest. No Government of any persuasion has routinely made risk registers of this type public. The Department is therefore appealing the decision by the Information Commissioner to publish its risk register. However, the Department does recognise the public interest in this and I am pleased that, for this reason, the Department has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as possible, while allowing of course for both sides to make the appropriate preparations. Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from a date in April to 5 and 6 March. I hope this information is useful and thank you again for taking the time to contact me

  • Lucy N

    It looks as if the whips are supplying the Tory MPs with a pro-forma reply that is to be used to write back to all 38 degrees emails. Virtually all of them say exactly the same thing.

    Pathetic.

     

  • Watch102

    Dear PaulineThank you for your email.We have received a number of emails from constituents which have been passed on to Mr Straw.The Government should respect the ruling of the Information Commissioner and publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill.The Government has appealed this decision and so this important information has not yet been released. The Labour Party will be voting in favour of the release of the Government risk report. It is crucial that MPs and Peers have all relevant information available to them before making final decisions on David Cameron’s controversial bill.The NHS is facing the biggest financial challenge in its history. At the same time, the Government has launched the biggest top-down reorganisation since 1948. It is widely acknowledged that this combination of events has exposed the NHS to greater risks. This was acknowledged by the Chief Executive of the NHS when speaking to the Public Accounts Committee:“I’ll not sit here and tell you that the risks have not gone up. They have. The risks of delivering the totality of the productivity savings, the efficiency savings that we need over the next four years have gone up because of the big changes that are going on in the NHS as whole.”The Labour Party will use this debate to highlight real examples of what is happening to the NHS under this Tory-led Government.Yours sincerelyANNETTE MURPHYP.A. TO JACK STRAW

  • Frances Gant

    Tessa Jowell MP gave me this reply:

    Thank you for contacting me about
    the NHS Risk Register. I have received more contact on this than on any other
    issue in the past 6 months. It is time the Government took its head out of the
    sand and listened to patients, health professionals and my
    constituents.

    I have previously raised my
    concerns with the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, and asked him to
    release the risk register. He has, so far, not responded to my
    letter.

    Following the ruling of the
    Information Commissioner last November, the Government continues to refuse to
    release the NHS risk register. They have appealed against this decision and
    their unwillingness to comply with the Commissioner’s ruling totally discredits
    their reforms. That is why Labour will put forward a motion calling for the
    release of the NHS risk register tomorrow in the Opposition Day Debate in the
    House of Commons.

    It is absolutely outrageous that
    this Government are trying to push through this Bill, which threatens the NHS as
    we know it, without letting us know the full facts. Parliamentarians are
    debating legislation that will fundamentally alter the NHS whilst being denied
    full information about the Bill’s inherent dangers. The Information
    Commissioner’s November ruling stated that there was “a very strong public
    interest in disclosure of the information, given the significant change to the
    structure of the health service the Government’s policies on the modernisation
    will bring”.

    The BMA, the Chartered Society of
    Physiotherapy, the Royal College of Nursing and The Royal College of Midwives
    have all also called on the Government to publish the risk register
    saying:

    “We urge the Government to
    reconsider its position, and publish the full register now. This will enable a
    proper determination – which takes into account the views of the health
    professions – to be made as to whether the risks of not proceeding with the Bill
    are greater than the risks inherent within the Bill itself while the Bill is
    still being debated by Parliament.”

    The number of experts and
    professional health bodies voicing their opposition to the Government’s NHS
    plans continue to grow. The Government response seems to be simply to shut out
    those who disagree with them. Instead the Prime Minister and Health Secretary
    should be listening to these experts and the 155,000 who have signed the “Drop
    the Bill” e-petition, and drop this Bill.

    If you have not already done so,
    please sign the Drop the Bill petition by using the following link: http://dropthebill.com/

    Thank you again for getting in
    touch.

    With best wishes

    Tessa Jowell MP

  • Michaeligoe137

    A letter sent to Dr Blackman-Woods (Labour, Durham) makes the point that the sheer size of Lansley’s Bill, attracting almost 1,000 amendments so far, must have been in preparation at the very time that Cameron was assuring the electors there would be no ‘top-down’ reorganisation of the NHS.  Either Dave knew nothing of this Bill (really?) or he was deceiving voters.  Which is the case?  I rely on the NHS for treatment for several permanent conditions.  I want to know where I stand – while I am still able to stand.

  • Paul taylforth

    This is the reply from my Labour MP Mr Graham Jones

    Dear Paul Thank you for contacting me concerning the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill and the failure of the Department of Health to publish the risk assessment for this controversial and ill-conceived Bill.I share the concern that many local people, health professionals, staff and patients have about the Government’s reorganisation of the NHS, which I have always thought is unnecessary and that it will risk the break-up of the NHS as a national public service.I am also disappointed that the Government have repeatedly refused to publish the risk assessment for the Bill, despite the Shadow Frontbench pressing them to do so and despite the independent Information Commissioner ruling that publication of the risk register is important to informing public and Parliamentary debate of the Government’s Bill and to highlight the potential impact of the Government’s reforms.I agree that the Department of Health’s risk assessment is an extremely important document and it is absolutely essential that Parliament, health professionals and the public are able to scrutinise it during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.The Government have appealed against the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the Department of Health must publish the risk assessment and a ruling is expected on this appeal in March. I do not think, however, that the Government should wait until then and rather than continuing to drag this issue through the courts, they should publish the risk register immediately. The Opposition have called a debate in the House of Commons on 22nd February on this issue and I can assure you that I will continue to press the Government to publish the risk register. The Shadow Health Secretary has also written to the Health Secretary to call for the immediate release of this risk assessment.The Government have failed to build any form of professional, political or public consensus to support their proposals and I fear this Bill risks fragmenting and fundamentally altering a service that we all value and rely on. That is why I voted against the Government’s proposals at Third Reading and why I think it is vital that the Government now publish the risk assessment on the Bill immediately.Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views on this important issue. Best wishesGraham

  • SueS

    Reply from John Howell (Henley, Conservative), or rather from his secretary:

    Thank you for your campaign e mail about the Department of Health’s “risk report”; I assume you mean the Departmental risk register. I am sure that you must be frustrated that whichever campaign on which you relied have clearly not explained to you what a risk register is. Risks and benefits related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public domain in the Department of Health’s impact assessments which we have all been able to read for some time.

    It is indeed bizarre that you advocated me voting for a wildly opportunistic motion that would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the public interest.

    Regards,

    John

  • Anonymous

    This is the reply I got from Luciana Berger (Labour and Co-operative MP  and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change)

    Dear Eddie, 
    Thank you for contacting me recently concerning the failure of the Department of Health to publish the risk assessment for the Health and Social Care Bill.
     
    I am disappointed that the Government have repeatedly refused to publish the risk assessment for the Bill, despite the Shadow Frontbench pressing them to do so and despite two formal requests being made under the Freedom of Information Act.
     
    The Department of Health’s risk assessment is an extremely important document and one that should be in the public domain in order to allow the public, health professionals and MPs to scrutinise the Government’s proposals.
     
    I am pleased, therefore, that the Information Commissioner has now ruled that the Department of Health must publish the risk assessment and that their failure to have done so has been against public interest and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.  However the Government have appealed against the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the Department of Health must publish the risk assessment and a verdict is expected on this appeal in March. I do not think, however, that the Government should wait until then and rather than continuing to drag this issue through the courts, they should publish the risk register immediately.
     
    I also have a number of wider concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill. I believe that the Government should drop this legislation and work with Opposition MPs and health experts to achieve the shared aim of clinically-led commissioning without this unnecessary cost and upheaval. I am particularly concerned that the Government’s plans will set up the NHS as a full-scale market, that it will break up one of our most cherished public services and that it will make the NHS more bureaucratic and less accountable to the patients who rely on it.
     
    I believe that the Health and Social Care Bill continues to risk fragmenting and fundamentally altering a service that we all value and rely on. That is why I voted against the Government’s proposals at Third Reading and why I think it is vital that the Government now publish the risk assessment on the Bill immediately.
     
    I will be taking part in the risk register debate tomorrow and voting in the Commons in support of the Opposition motion, which will again call on the Government to release the risk register immediately.
     
    Thank you once again for writing to me and I can assure you that I will continue to press the Government on this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
     
    Yours sincerely,
    Luciana Berger
    Labour and Co-operative MP for Liverpool Wavertree
    Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change

  • Jonesy

    Dear Simon, Many thanks for your email. I do understand your interest in this information. However, it is important to be clear what risk registers include and what they do not. Risks and benefits related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public domain in the Department of Health’s impact assessments, and are available on the Department’s website (www.dh.gov.uk by searching for ‘Health and Social Care Bill: combined impact assessments.’) These have been updated as recently as September. In contrast, the Departmental risk registers – which have not been published – set out the full range of risks for all activity over which the Department of Health is responsible. Risk registers are used across Government. They set out financial and policy risks, as well as sensitive commercial and contractual risks. They are a tool through which information about risks, however improbable of becoming a reality, can be recorded to enable the risks to be managed and mitigated. They therefore play a critical role in the delivery of effective government and I think we’d be worse off to say the least if they didn’t exist. So risk registers contain just that – risks – but they also contain some stark and worst case scenario planning. This can be useful but it can also be used, by organisations with a political axe to grind against the Government of the day, to present that as what WILL happen if a particular policy is pursued.

  • Jonesy

    The Information Commissioner’s decision to order the release of the Department of Health’s risk registers therefore creates a precedent that would have implications across the whole of Government. There is a real danger that if risk registers are routinely released into the public domain, then risks would no longer be recorded accurately on them and we’d have a situation similar to that created by the Freedom of Information Act which even its’ creator (Tony Blair) now says hampers good Government. Establishing this precedent would threaten the successful implementation of Government policy. After careful consideration, across Government, I understand Prime Minister (David Cameron) and Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg) have agreed the Department of Health will appeal this decision by the Information Commissioner. So they are the facts; what I can promise you as your MP is that I will discuss this with Ministers (as I always do), I will ensure your views as a constituent are conveyed to Ministers (as I always do) and I will listen to all the arguments made by MPs on both front benches if this is debated in the House (as I always do). What I will not do (and I never do) is use the NHS as an issue to play party politics with. I really have no idea what kind of games the Labour Party, or some of the more extreme ends of the Liberal Democrat party, will deploy this week but I will be watching with great interest as will millions of people across our country. If anything significant changes this week I will be sure to let you know by email.
     

  • Jonesy

    I really do find it deplorable that most of the replies we have had, all say exactly the same thing.

  • no middle class no economy

    38 degrees, please promote the e-petition asking the government to publish the risk register:
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/27426
    I simply cannot understand why you refuse to do this, you have the mandate from your poll, and it was the second stated aim resulting from the poll.
    PLEASE JUST DO IT!

  • Carollynnemurray

    Dear Lynne,

    Thank you very much indeed for forwarding the email and I can categorically assure you that I will be in the House on Wednesday and voting in favour of releasing the risk assessment report on Andrew Lansley’s increasingly discredited proposed legislation.

    I have tried to explain to 38 degrees that the debate on Wednesday has been called by the Labour Party and that as a Labour MP I will, of course, be voting in support of what you and I believe to be an extremely important issue.  I consider it an absolute tragedy that while the Department of Health and the Coalition Government constantly contradict each other, as well as revisiting legislation on an almost daily basis, as the cold winds of reality blow away the confusing mists of party prejudice, our National Health Service is in a state of constant crisis management and decent people are unable to be true to their vocation because of this ceaseless meddling by ever more out of touch politicians.

    Thanks very much for letting me know your views and I hope that together we can defeat the horrific proposals and releasing the report will be a good starting point.

    Kind regards

    Steve Pound.

  • JanetEds

    My reply was too quick and answered questions I hadn’t asked so I thought it must be a spam generated bit of whatnot. 
     
    I’ve handwritten a couple of notes but my MP is Conservative Firewall and sending them to him would acheive nothing.  (Seen and written multiple times.) 
     
    Whom should I send them to?  (To whom…)  :-)

  • Louisegmarley

    i’ve been trying to use the email your MP re risk report page, but when it gets to filling in address below it doesn’t work and my letter gets scrapped. anyone know how to navigatethat page ? Tried  x2 now, and ken to send.
      

  • Rob W

    Oliver Heald MP replied to my personalised e-mail from the 38 degrees website thus:

    Thank you for your email, which I see is part of an organised campaign.

    I shall want to listen carefully to the arguments in the Debate before taking a view.

    Yours sincerely

    Oliver Heald MP

    Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire

    How dismissive can you get?

    Oh yes – he’s a true blue Tory…

  • Lucy N

     It’s all pretty funny when the pro-privatisation MPs write shouty things like “what I will not do is play party politics with the NHS” . Pull the other one.

    At least when we send prepared emails set up 38 degrees it’s because writing to MPs is not what most of us do for a living. When MPs respond using prepared emails it’s bound to feel like they’ve been told to.

    Any MP out there want to let us know who provided the text for their replies? COI? McKinsey? Or Steve Hilton?

  • Lucy N

     Hi, I think you may need to use to find out why there isn’t a direct link headlined:

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk/pages/contact_us

  • DC

    Hi.  Kris Hopkins (Con) is my MP & his response is as follows:-

    ‘As you will be aware, the Department of Health is appealing the decision by the
    Information Commissioner that it should disclose its strategic risk
    register.This Government is committed to transparency and is publishing
    more information than ever before to help patients make the right choices about
    their care, and they have my support in this endeavour.Risk registers
    are used across Government. They set out financial and policy risks, as well as
    sensitive commercial and contractual risks. They are a tool through which
    information about risks, however improbable of becoming a reality, can be
    recorded to enable the risks to be managed and mitigated.Risks and
    benefits related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public
    domain in the Department of Health’s impact assessments.The Department
    has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as
    possible. Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from its
    initial date in April to the beginning of March.’

  • Anonymous

    People power really makes a difference- look at the forestry debate!

    Please send out those emails and circulate- the numbers count.

    Time is running out- and this is a particularly crucial issue.

    If this is the Big Society at work- then let’s make it happen.

    The professional community, patient organizations and vast majority
    of the public,(judging by high profile polls,) are all united on this issue-
    it is unprecedented.

    Time is of the essence though and today’s debate is crucial.

    Everyone’s voice counts in equal measure; collective action is powerful.

    Thanks so much 38 Degrees for brilliant campaigning- you are making
    people think and calling those in power to account.

    Jo

  • EP

    From MP for Enfield North, Nick de Bois (Con):

    Thanks for your email. I am replying from handheld so please forgive any typos.

    I intend to listen carefully to the debate as I stated in my
    correspondence and I’d possible contribute. My personal belief is that
    the government have published considerable date so far. Specifically
    they have already published relevant risks connected to the Health and
    Social Care Bill in the Combined Impact Assessments, which collectively
    make up over 400 pages of detailed analysis.

    What previous Governments have done

    During the course of the last Government requests to see risk registers
    were declined for exactly the same kind of reasons given by ministers on
    this occasion in July 2008, in September 2008, and by Andy Burnham in
    September 2009.

    Some of the NHS Regions, including NHS London, have been posting copies
    of their risk registers on the internet.  However these all relate to
    operational delivery, anddiffer fundamentally from the content of the
    DHTransition risk register which covers policy development and the
    implementation of the Health and Social Care Bill. Furthermore, these
    have been developed with a clear view to being visible to stakeholders
    and the public.  NHS London for example has included versions of its
    risk register on its website since 2006 when the strategy was launched.

    I hope you are aware that Governments of all political stripes have
    recognised that risk registers are specific policy tools that present
    risks in ‘worst case scenario’ terms. Similarly, the Labour Government
    recognised – as has this one – that to release these documents would
    damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, mislead the
    public debate and be detrimental to the public interest.

    Turning to the Bill, this has been the most widely reviewed Bill, by
    both Houses of Parliament, the professions and the public both before
    the bill was presented to Parliament and the pause earlier this year.

    I remain in favour of patient choice and improved outcomes which is
    exactly what the reforms will achieve when enacted. It should not be
    overlooked that nearly 95 % of the country is now covered by shadow
    clinical commissioning groups.

    Best wishes

  • Lucy N

     Thing is, what do MPs respond to most willingly and quickly? If they are backed into a corner currently they seem to simply put their fingers in their ears and shout “blah-blah-blah” until the nasty electorate shut up.

  • Gordon Davies

    Reply from Geraint Davies labour.
    The NHS is one of the most revered institutions in this country, and I am committed to doing what I can to ensure that its character remains intact.
    Gordon

  • Anonymous

    Hi Lucy, I know what you mean- but maybe that can be a stalling tactic to put people off? I think what matters is making a good case, and acting collectively.
    The public and professionals are totally “onside” with this issue judging by media reports, blogs and polls.It’s a huge issue, and I think about democratic process.

    I think politicians (and the media) are far more receptive to public opinion
    then we may realise or are led to believe.The more people sign petitions,
    write letters to their local paper, MP’s and speak out publicly, unite as a community- real momentum can happen.

    I also think MP’s are individuals and may react differently, eg out of concience,
    or from known experience, working background, etc, so it’s always worth trying to have a dialogue.They are also there to serve their local community so have to listen and represent our interests!

    I’d like to see much greater democratic workings in many areas.
    They talk about big society- but need to engage with far more people
    to bring that about and prove their worth.

    I’m also very passionate about the NHS and feel strongly these reforms
    are being imposed unfairly in a totally top down approach, and amongst a limited group of people, like private companies and a minority of GP’s in favour to bring about what are essentially politically driven changes and ambitions.
    I think the danger is they could break up services, overburden people working on the frontline of care, create a postcode lottery, demotivate staff.

    Also- the type of patients that may end up suffering more could be those with chronic conditions, complex illnesses, mental health problems, disabilities, elderly people- as there is no one size fits all solution.Private companies potentially brought in are likely to cherry pick the easily treatable conditions, and those that are cost efficient; based on profits- not purely needs.

    I see this as a few of many potential problems; it’s no wonder that about 99% of the professions are so deeply concerned and in doubt.
    Many of these professional groups have historically never stepped out of line to complain- and yet are they really respecting expert opinions?

    I think they have reached a point where they feel they have to push on regardless, probably for political reasons; maybe they think it would weaken their position by stepping back and going back to the drawing board?
    I actually think it would show courage and integrity to let the professionals and patient groups/public to start again and reshape as is necessary, or not.

    I think the real emphasis should be about combining health and social care-
    and that issue is being overshadowed by this political game of football IMO.

    Also- these massive changes are being imposed at the same time as
    ?billions of pounds’ savings/cuts are said to be enacted.

    I think it’s a flawed bill, wrong process applied, and dreadful timing.

    It could really alienate staff, adding further unwanted pressure, undermine very skilled and experienced people, which would in turn surely affect quality of care.

    For example- many GP’s could retire, or even if stay- will have far less time to spend in clinical role.

    It could also become a complicated and incomprehensibe system- eg many referral pathways, which goes against principle of integration
    and universality of service- treating the patient as a whole, not many individual parts.Also, I think opening the door to competing private companies who may already be clamouring at the door seeking to cream off the best of the NHS.

    I think private provision is OK as a top up, where there are gaps in services- like minor ops- but not taking over, or undermining major parts of the NHS.
    It’s the precedent that could be set for the long term future once services are broken up.

    Apologies for length of post- but attempting to explain my own perspective, and what I’m hearing and have read repeatedly during this debate.

    Thankyou, and good luck.
     
    Jo

  • Ann

    Reply from Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North (Lab)

    I will most certainly be voting for the release of the risk register.  I will send a fuller reply through post.I have been spearheading the ‘Drop the Bill’ petition in Derby and have organised several session in the city centre next to the Derby Ram on East Street.  The response from the Derby public has been very supportive.I will be there again this Saturday from about midday.  If you are in Derby, please add your name if you haven’t already done so.Kind regards

  • Anonymous

    It’s very interesting reading the responses from MP’s.

    This has the potential to be a meaningful debate between the public
    and politicians, not just in the HOC?

    J

  • no middle class no economy

    I have registered a complaint with 38 degrees on this issue, and have not received a satisfactory reply.  I can’t understand why
    38 degrees will not promote this e-petition.  Are they scare, have they been threatened?

  • James Head

    Responce from my personalised e-mail to my MP, Justin Tomlinson:

    Dear Mr Head,

    Thank you for your e-mail yesterday about the NHS “risk register” and
    today’s Opposition Day Debate on this. I appreciate your concerns about
    the proposed changes but it is important to recognise that reforms must
    be made if the NHS is going to continue to remain free at the point of
    use. I am planning to attend today’s debate on this important topic, as I
    would like to be able to listen further to all the arguments put
    forward.

    I am glad that you have found the service in the NHS to be excellent, I
    have always received first-rate treatment and I do not want to adopt any
    plans that may change this.  We are so lucky to have a health service
    that is free to all and I think that this is something very unique and
    worth preserving.  Therefore I do not intend to back any plans that
    would put this at risk.

    Risk registers are used across Government and study risks in ‘worst case
    scenario’ terms.  Clearly it is important to be aware of the worst
    possible risks but by publishing this information it is likely that the
    media and other organisation would mislead public debate by using these
    scenarios as fact when they evidently are just projections of
    possibilities.  Ministers and civil servants use risk registers
    extensively in decision making and when deciding on policy and therefore
    the publication of them would be detrimental to their ability to do set
    agendas in an objective way.

    I think that it is worth noting that the Department of Health has done
    extensive work analysing the risks connected to the Health and Social
    Care Bill, and their findings can be viewed here:

    http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsLegislation/DH_123583

    These Combined Impact Assessments scrutinise the Bill and provide
    extensive information (roughly 400 pages worth) about their conclusions.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Justin Tomlinson MP

  • Lucy N

     Yes, I understand and agree.

  • 119JSL

    My MP – Mark Lazarowicz, Labour, replied to my email saying that he would vote to have the report released.

  • Lucy N

    Think it’s more likely that the web set up is designed in a particular way and as the primary action promoted is e-petitioning already it would be difficult to set up a referral (and confusing).

    Credit where credit is due: the 38 degrees petition had been going for a while before the others were up and running…But it would be interesting to know what practical purpose – apart from a record of objection to the privatise NHS bill -our petition on this site is going to be put to.

    Also I don’t get the impression that 38 degrees is “staffed” in the way of
    most lobby or pressure groups – so it might take a while to get a
    response.

  • Anonymous

    (It’s a pity though that some MP’s responses appear pre prepared; how refreshing it would be if some actually acted upon independence of mind and conscience, not just political expediency.This issue has united people from all parties, in the HOL and peers, it’s been reported.I don’t think it should be purely party political.
    I have faith some have backbone and willing to stick by principle!)

    J

  • Nick Adams

    My MP Richard Graham (Conservative Gloucester) replied as follows:
    Thank you for contacting me about the debate today on the NHS and
    Department of Health’s risk register.

    I understand your interest in this and apologise for replying to you all
    with one e mail as there isn’t time to reply individually before the
    debate.
     I will be there for some, though not all, of it and look forward to hearing
    the arguments.The situation at the moment is that there is a hearing on March 5-6th
    (which will go ahead come what may) on the Health Dept’s appeal against the
    Information Commissioner order to release their risk registers.
    I will come back to you after the debate with an update.
     Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
    With regards
    Richard
    Thank you for contacting me about the debate today on the NHS and
    Department of Health’s risk register.

    I understand your interest in this and apologise for replying to you all
    with one e mail as there isn’t time to reply individually before the
    debate.

     I will be there for some, though not all, of it and look forward to hearing
    the arguments.

    The situation at the moment is that there is a hearing on March 5-6th
    (which will go ahead come what may) on the Health Dept’s appeal against the
    Information Commissioner order to release their risk registers.

    I will come back to you after the debate with an update.

     Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    With regards

    Richard

  • Rob Steadman

    From Tony Lloyd, Labour for Manchester Central

    “Thank you for contacting me recently concerning the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill and the failure of the Department of Health to publish the risk assessment for this controversial and ill-conceived Bill. I share the concern that many local people, health professionals, staff and patients have about the Government’s reorganisation of the NHS, which I have always thought is unnecessary and that it will risk the break-up of the NHS as a national public service. I am also disappointed that the Government have repeatedly refused to publish the risk assessment for the Bill, despite the Shadow Frontbench pressing them to do so and despite the independent Information Commissioner ruling that publication of the risk register is important to informing public and Parliamentary debate of the Government’s Bill and to highlight the potential impact of the Government’s reforms. The Department of Health’s risk assessment is an extremely important document and it is absolutely essential that Parliament, health professionals and the public are able to scrutinise it during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill. The Government have appealed against the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the Department of Health must publish the risk assessment and a ruling is expected on this appeal in March. I do not think, however, that the Government should wait until then and rather than continuing to drag this issue through the courts, they should publish the risk register immediately. I have signed EDM 2659 on this issue, a copy of which I have enclosed below. The Labour Party have called a debate in the House of Commons today on this issue and I can assure you that we will continue to press the Government to publish the risk register. The Shadow Health Secretary has also written to the Health Secretary to call for the immediate release of this risk assessment. I also share your wider concern about the Health and Social Care Bill, which I agree should be dropped. The Government have failed to build any form of professional, political or public consensus to support their proposals and I fear this Bill risks fragmenting and fundamentally altering a service that we all value and rely on. That is why I voted against the Government’s proposals at Third Reading and why I think it is vital that the Government now publish the risk assessment on the Bill immediately. You may be interested to know that I will be joining a Save our NHS rally on Saturday 3rd March at 11am in Albert Square which you may wish to attend. Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views on this important issue. With best wishes, Yours sincerely, Tony Tony Lloyd MPManchester Central Early day motion 2659PUBLICATION OF THE RISK REGISTER ON HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE BILL REFORMS Lloyd, TonyThat this House expects the Government to respect the ruling by the Information Commissioner and to publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill reforms in advance of Report Stage in the House of Lords in order to ensure that it informs that debate.”

  • SueB

    My MP, John Howell (Henley, Conservative) replied as follows:  

    Thank you for your campaign e mail about the Department of Health’s “risk report”; I assume you mean the Departmental risk register. I am sure that you must be frustrated that whichever campaign on which you relied have clearly not explained to you what a risk register is. Risks and benefits related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public domain in the Department of Health’s impact assessments which we have all been able to read for some time.It is indeed bizarre that you advocated me voting for a wildly opportunistic motion that would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the public interest.

    ?????????

  • Miss-S

    Dear Ms XXXXXXXX,

    Thank you very much for your email regarding the release of the government risk report. I agree that the government should release the report. Nevertheless, today’s vote will follow the Opposition Day debate and therefore the motion in question is likely to be more wide ranging than simply a question about the risk register. As such, I expect it to contain other elements hostile to the government which I shall not agree with.

    I shall therefore most likely refrain from voting with the Opposition. However I have already informed the Health Secretary of my view that the report should be released and have also made formal representations to him on behalf of constituents.

    Kindest regards,

    MARK

    In today’s Telegraph:

    Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said it appeared “suspicious” that the government is refusing to publish its “risk register” detailing all the potential problems associated with the reforms.
    He is concerned that the Government looks like it is trying to hide something by declining to release the register.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9096375/Doctors-bullied-by-medical-chiefs-for-criticising-NHS-reforms.html
     

  • JanetEds

    Yeah.
     
    My reply was too quick and answered questions I hadn’t asked so I thought it must be a spam generated bit of whatnot. 
     
    I’ve handwritten a couple of notes but my MP is Conservative Firewall and sending them to him would acheive nothing.  (Seen and written multiple times.) 
     
    Whom should I send them to?  (To whom…)  :-)

  • JanetEds

    People power makes the difference but only if the people get to know the facts. 

    The BBC has been dragging its towing to the Gvmt to keep us ignorant but at the Royal Victoria Institution in Newcastle the Jounalists were actually * locked in a room * while the MP toured and staff ignored him. 

    This is a page describing what happened:  http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.com/2012/02/full-story-of-camerons-visit-to-nhs.html

    The Free Press is being gagged! 

    The Gvmt must be getting scared but they cannot keep the internet quiet. 

    Let’s hope the Gvmt finds out it has promised more to its rich friends than the, (hopefully), uncorrupt medical professionals are prepared to give up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.lomax Bob Lomax

    Thank you for your email
    expressing your concerns that the Government is not prepared to release the
    findings of their report showing the risks of damage their changes to the NHS
    could cause.

    Julie Hilling MP is in the
    Chamber at the House of Commons for the opposition debate on the NHS risk
    register this afternoon. She will be voting for the risk register to be
    released and she shares your concern that this ‘top-down’ re-organisation puts
    the NHS at risk.

    Thanks again for taking the
    trouble to write, Julie will keep you informed of any progress on this issue

    Best wishes

    Sue Pugh,

    For Julie Hilling MP

  • JanetEds

    There is one blog via the main website page and another when googling ’38 degrees NHS’. 

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk/pages/save_our_nhs_action_centre

    Just copied and pasted from the other blog, report by David Owen

    http://www.lorddavidowen.co.uk… 'It is not just the health professions but a growing body of informed opinion who are not prepared to accept that healthcare can be likened to just another utility. The Bill envisages Monitor’s role modeled on the laws that have already been set up for utility regulators.  It is the commercialization and marketisation of the NHS that runs through this Bill which calls into question the very existence of an NHS in England in 5-10 years time.  It does not help that growing perception when the Government has appointed two nonexecutive directors to join the Chair/CEO of Monitor who are all former McKinsey senior managers and have specialized in privatization;  the Chair/CEO has the very same background, suggesting that skills in privatisation are considered essential qualifications for a senior role  in Monitor. Nor that in 2010 private equity investors in New York received a personal invitation to enter NHS provision from a former NHS Director of Commissioning through a presentation on profit opportunities arising in the UK healthcare sector, which stated “in future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider, not a state deliverer. In future any willing provider from the private sector will be able to sells goods and services to the system.  The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years. GPs will have to aggregate purchasing power and there will be a bid opportunity for those companies that can facilitate this process.’It gives you the creeps. 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Janet, thankyou for this.

    I will check out your link!

    If that’s the case- a real shame; it does sound like some form of “gagging”
    of the mainstream press- or that they can only present one line?

    That is hardly openness and transparency which this administration imply
    they purport.Let alone democracy.

    Why can’t the public and professionals decide for themselves what are the pros and cons; or are we supposed to just accept what is imposed top down-
    even when something so potentially devastating?
    It’s patronising, and autocratic.

    They always complain about the last style of “big government”top down-
    yet look how this process has been rolled out?

    I think they are just trying to prove themselves and assert authority;
    also I think about political ambitions to “roll back the state” and marketize public services.It’s not just about cost savings; that could have been implemented separately- only working with staff, not in spite of the whole
    professional community.

    I read somewhere this has been planned for about 7 years.
    Why were the electorate then told no top down reorganization
    at the last election- if the opposite was true?
    They have to be accountable for their words and actions- it’s also a matter of trust.

    I’ve seen some of the debate in the HOC on BBC Parliament this pm-
    regarding the motion on publishing this report and freedom of information
    in the public interest.

    According to one Labour MP,(I think Dame Joan R;)
    this has already happened in London- so it turns on its head the argument “against”motion by opponents.

    She listed many extraordinary findings which did prove the case for publishing.
    Time and again opponents said they shouldn’t proceed because the last government didn’t; but the whole point is- these reforms are monumental and unprecedented in size and changes to the Bill; someone said could be seen from space! It was described as a vital move because specifically
    “in transition”  and presumably a unique situation.

    Also so much rests on what is in the public interest IMO.

    I’m sure this will be repeated on BBC Parliament; can also recommend
    BBC “democracy live.” It’s just rolling events as they happen, no commentary
    or analysis- which can sometimes appear a bit pantomimish I think!

    The public are perfectly capable of observation and making up their own minds;
    and yet so little public discourse on a matter of such fundamental importance.

    Also- where are the voices of the health professionals- apart from a handful of GP’s and powerful doctors? That’s not to say it appears most of the medical profession also appear to have grave doubts about this whole process.
    But there are many allied professionals and practioners in different sectors and specialities.

    Anyway- I could go on- and much has been said elsewhere.

    The more public that get involved in debating and thinking, the better!

    We have a right to demand openness and transparency; also
    democratic process- if there is nothing to conceal or nothing
    we should know about.It would do no harm to publish- in fact
    might even benefit govt if it brings out strengths as well as weaknesses.
    Then we can all get on board and make up our own minds about best way to proceed.

    PS Would also be useful to know more about what’s been debated in the HOL by peers; the Guardian NHS blog has been excellent at covering live news.

    Does anyone know results of vote for or against?
    I think I heard, whatever- there may be a tribunal in March,
    so decision perhaps not finalized.

    Thanks again, J.

  • JanetEds

    We seem to have this website: 

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk/pages/save_our_nhs_action_centre

    and here, where I have clicked now: 

    http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2012/02/20/crunch-nhs-vote-on-wednesday/#comment-445660564

    Two difference lines of chat going. 

    Have we been split?  If the Gvmt is desparate enough to lock journalists into a room before the Prime Minister can roam the hospital http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.com/2012/02/full-story-of-camerons-visit-to-nhs.html
     they’ll have plenty of spies and experts on hand to fiddle the web.

    Today I can’t find the details of where to post your MP’s replies on this site, but I can on the other one. 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Janet, just to say only had time to look briefly as yet
    at Eoin’s article- but will return to read properly later.

    My overall impression is one of control of agenda;
    what’s seen and what can be said or not said.

    I personally have great affection and high regard for the BBC
    over many years; but maybe it’s possible they are in some way “over a barrel” also?

    After all, they too have traditionally been under “attack” from some sections of right wingers/libertarians?

    Maybe the more “hardline” ones such as D.Hannon, who stated on in his visit to USA during the Obama healthcare debate, the
    “NHS is a 60 year old mistake.”

    Also climate change deniers etc.

    This kind of thing is a reminder why even more need for democratic debate
    and more public discourse!

    J

  • Anonymous

    This is very useful, thankyou.

    J

  • Anonymous

    Excellent info Janet- thank God there are some willing to speak up,
    regardless of party politics or loyalties.

    I read too there are many Tories not in favour of Bill going ahead;
    it’s also become a cross party issue amongst the peers-
    and seems to have united all parties.

    That is aside from the long list of health professional organizations
    representing their members; also I believe the best advocates for the patients
    and public when it comes to health.They are also trusted more than politicians.

    J

  • Anonymous

    Hi Janet, it’s hard to know what happens online; I don’t like the technical side of writing and blogging…but probably a minefield.

    Would it be worth setting up a separate page for those letters and and providing prominent link, eg alongside heading above- so easily found/seen?
    (But also keeping on both pages, as part of ongoing thread.)

    Sorry, didn’t realise earlier you might have been editing here- but great job anyway,
    and thanks again so much to 38 Degrees for great campaigning.

    I’d like to see all strands of debate/various campaigns coming together
    as one whole-representing the public voice.

    Cheers, J.

  • Anonymous

    There is a lot of abuse from MPs about 38 Degrees.They’re missing an important point.It’s the 21st century,and computers and internet are real.
    They’re missing the democratic opportunities that they present.
    The tone that is more often used is scornful and disgraceful.
    So let’s hope that the 500,000+ signatories and more,remember the MPs who scorn their democratic efforts.

  • Deb Stephens

    This is what my MP replied to me:

    “Dear Deb,

    Thank you for your campaign e mail about the Department
    of Health’s “risk report”; I assume you mean the Departmental risk register. I
    am sure that you must be frustrated that whichever campaign on which you relied
    have clearly not explained to you what a risk register is. Risks and benefits
    related to the Health and Social Care Bill are already in the public domain in
    the Department of Health’s impact assessments which we have all been able to
    read for some time.

    It is indeed bizarre that you advocated me voting for a
    wildly opportunistic motion that would damage the ability of Ministers to
    receive accurate advice, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the
    public interest.

    Regards,

    John”

    John Howell OBE MP

    Member of Parliament for Henley

  • http://twitter.com/Ian_McNab Ian McNab

    my MP replied to me saying:

    Thank you for contacting me about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register.’
     
    This Government is committed to transparency and is publishing more information than ever before to help patients make the right choices about their care.
     
    That is why the Department has already published all risks connected to the Health and Social Care Bill in the Combined Impact Assessments. This was updated as recently as September 2011 and collectively makes up over 400 pages of detailed analysis.
     
    Risk registers are specific policy tools used across Government that present risks in ‘worst case scenario’ terms. They are used for the management of policy development and implementation across the private and public sectors. The information contained in the risk registers is integral to government policy-making.  To release these documents would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the public interest.
     
    No Government of any persuasion has routinely made risk registers of this type public. The Department is therefore appealing the decision by the Information Commissioner to publish its risk register.
     
    However, the Department does recognise the public interest in this and I am pleased that, for this reason, the Department has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as possible, while allowing of course for both sides to make the appropriate preparations. Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from a date in April to 5 and 6 March.
     
    I hope this information is useful and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
     
    Yours sincerely
     
    Nick Hurd MP
    Ruislip Northwood & Pinner

  • Don

    An Email I sent to my MP recently

    Dear Mr LefroyMr Lansley is proposing to withhold from MPs and his paymaster the tax payer  the risks to the NHS inherent in his proposed bill. If he were in industry he would be dismissed. Why haven’t 600 MPs marched into Cameron’s office demanding that Lansley be sacked? We know that MPs have a very poor reputation, but this is unbelievable.Lansley argued that releasing the report “would have jeopardised the success of the policy”! Apparently he prefers to jeopardise the nation’s safety. Shouldn’t he be charged with treason?At the next election I would contribute significantly to a fund to ensure that any MPs who vote for this document to remain secret lose their right to represent us.When MPs are taking such risks with the NHS I feel it is only right they should suffer the consequences of their actions i.e. they should never be allowed private medical care.Don Picken

  • Carl Holmes

     switch energy provider altogether away from the big six and instead join  http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/va... clean renewable electricity and gas also watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Anonymous

    Next important decision is next Tuesday 28th Feb whe the MPs Backbench Business Committee decide whether the #DropTheBill epetition will be accepted. It should be accepted, they usually are. So Parliament will get to debate the motion “Government will drop the Health and Social Care Bill”.

    I am going to let my MP know that it would cause a lot of upset and frustration if the BBCom decided not to debate it.

     

  • FedUpCaseworker

    yes, because none of 38 degrees’ campaign emails are pre-prepared..!! 

    Of course an MP’s caseworker wont have time to personally answer 600+ emails on any topic, 2 days before a vote… If 38 degrees members insist on sending hundreds of identical emails, can you blame an MP for sending a standard response back?! and can you blame them for not having the time to write personal responses to those who have bothered, when they have to log the 500 unoriginal people on a system and reply to all of them??

  • FedUpCaseworker

    as a caseworker for an MP, I find it incredibly irritating that all of the emails I receive from 38 deg members say the same thing.

    Pot calling the kettle black?

  • Lucy N

     So, what you are saying is that your MP is not engaging even with the strength of opposition shown by the electorate (yes, that us contributors to 38 degrees) or the professional bodies who dissent from the privatisation agenda that Lansley and Co are driving through?

    No surprises there.

    Bye bye representative democracy.

  • Lucy N

    Hey, I think I used that term on this web site first.

    Yes, democracy is a troublesome thing. But surely strength of feeling is indicated by any email bombardment don’t you think?

  • Alanrobinson93

    We must prevail on Milliband publicly to avow to reverse this Bill if he regains power at the next General Election. This implicit threat may exert additional pressure on the C man/party.

  • Lucy N

    Should say £20 billion, of course.

    Anyone notice Fedupcaseworker on other message page of 38 degrees?

  • Jackie

    Email sent to me by Fiona Parker:

    “Thank
    you for your pro-forma email calling for the publication by the
    Department of Health of the risk register on the Health and Social Care
    Bill.  This was debated yesterday in Parliament and I voted against this
    Labour motion.  The report of the debate
    can be found at http://www.parliament.uk.
     
    yours sincerely 
     
     

    Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP”

  • SC

    My MP did not bother to reply, (J Huppert), and I believe he abstained.

  • Miriamnewbound

    Hello 38 degrees, I received a reply from my MP for Aberconwy. He points out to me once more that the bill does not apply to Wales. This may be so but he has the priviledge of voting for English laws as well as Welsh. So it does not surprise me that he votel the wrong way. MN.

  • Sheila

    my MP Bill Wiggin from Herefordshire said:

    “I appreciate your interest in this issue and have
    enclosed the speeches made by the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary of
    State for Health, and the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for
    Health.

     

    If you would like to read more, then the full Hansard
    transcript can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120222/debtext/120222-0001.htm#12022252001707

     
    I think you will see that Labour party itself has never
    released an internal risk register. Their scaremongering has misled and worried
    a lot of people, which is a real shame considering how much the public has to
    gain from these much-needed reforms.

     
    It may also be helpful for me to explain that the risks
    and benefits associated with the Health and Social Care Bill have already been
    published in the form of impact assessments. They can be downloaded from the
    Department’s website: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsLegislation/DH_123583

     Personally speaking, I feel that the Government is right
    to wait for the appeal’s conclusion before deciding how to proceed. This will
    be heard of the 5th and 6th of next month.”

    Personally speaking, I am not surprised that he and his party can only point to Labour failing to publish such docs (2 wrongs don’t make a right) and to impact assessment which is wholly different from risk assessment, the latter being about the actual management and process of the change rather than the impact of potential outcomes – which are largely speculative. Ho,hum..
    SM

     

  • Diane Hibbert

    My MP Mark Spencer’s email contained paragraphs identical to those of other respondents. Obviously a cut and paste job from the official handout.
    He thinks that bringing forward the Tribunal’s hearing will be the solution. I don’t see how.

  • Lucy N

    Don’t you just loathe the icky way these Tory MPs think of the public – us -  as noodled-headed silly-billies if we are alarmed or object to privatisation plans the NHS.

    How patronising.

    Andy Burnham answered the question raised about his 2009 refusal. This refusal is of a whole different order of contempt for parliament and the people who didn’t vote for this government.

  • Helen Freeman

    Dear Helen Freeman, Thank you for getting in touch with me concerning the Department of Health Risk Register. I think one needs to put this issue into some proper context. It is usual for Ministers of all political persuasions and at all times in respect of any Government policy to ask officials to make submissions on what could conceivably go wrong and the possible consequences. Certainly something I commissioned when I was privatising the electricity industry or in respect of dealing with BSE, or numerous foreign policy considerations. Indeed, I suspect there is barely a day when Ministers don’t commission work of this kind. It is commissioned by Ministers in the knowledge that the submissions will be “in confidence”, and the advice to Ministers is given on the same basis. And that was the basis of the Risk Register concerning the Health and Social Care Bill. When the Freedom of Information Act was drafted, it was drafted specifically to ensure that the process of policy making within Departments would be protected and the Risk Register forms an integral part of that internal policy making . I understand that the Information Commissioner has come to a different view and that issue will now be determined on appeal. There is clearly an important issue about the balance of public interest here, but I don’t believe that it is in the public interest for officials not to feel that they can give Ministers advice candidly and in confidence. Best wishes, Tony Baldry

  • Helen Freeman

    My MP for Banbury Tony Baldry, replied to my e-mail- his answer is below, and I don’t really understand his reply!

  • Communibus

    Dear Mr

    Thank you for your email regarding the Opposition Day
    debate on the Publication of the NHS Risk Register.

    I agree that it is in
    the public interest for the Government to release this document. The NHS is a
    vital public service, and decisions affecting its future should not be taken
    without full and open scrutiny by Parliament and the public. The Government’s
    reluctance to publish a document that is critical of its proposals shows that
    they are struggling to defend a Bill that neither medical professionals nor
    patients want, and that there is growing pressure for them to withdraw the
    Bill.  That is why Labour tabled this week’s motion calling on the Government to
    publish the Risk Register.

    Despite this pressure, the Government still
    refuses to publish the Risk Register and was able to use its majority to defeat
    the motion. To read the official Hansard record of the debate, click on the
    following link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120222/debtext/120222-0001.htm#12022252000001

    In
    spite of this setback, I and my Labour colleagues will continue to fight to
    defend our NHS from the reckless top-down reorganisation of this Tory-led
    Government. The Department of Health’s appeal against the Information
    Commissioner’s ruling in favour of publishing the Risk Register is due to be
    heard on March 5, and so it is still possible that the Government may be forced
    to publish this document and reveal the true dangers of its irresponsible and
    damaging policy.

    Thank you once again for contacting me on this vital
    issue.

    Yours sincerely

    Joan Walley MP

    -

  • Hrchaloner

    I received yesterday a reply from David Heath libDem, Deputy Leader of the House which seems to take the same tackas the Conservatives:
    Thank you for your email.
    I’m afraid there is a great deal of confusion about what the “NHS RiskRegister” is, some of it unfortunately engendered deliberately by lobbying organisations. Risk registers are standRdly produced internal management documents within government departments, and are not released,npartly because they may contain commercially sensitive information,and partly because they enable civil servants to discuss with ministers worst-case examples and necessary steps to mitigate them. In this respect, the one produced by the Department of Health is no different to any other, despite attempts do portray it as something both sinister and damning. There is a very strong argument that internal discussions in the process of policy formation should not be open to scrutiny, because it would prevent frank exchanges with the civil service which are necessary if policy is to be effectively produced. This is recognised in Freedom of information legislation.
    In this instance much of the information is in any case available in full in the impact assessment documents which accompanied publication of the current legislation, and in Ddition in a specific statement made to the House of Lords by the health minister.
    I also note the hypocritical position of a shadow secretary of state demanding the publication of a document which he personally prevented being revealed when in government. The vote next week can therefore, I’m afraid, only be considered shallow opportunism on the part of the opposition.
    For your information I attach a copy of my article for this weeks WesternGazette.
    Yours sincerely

  • Hrchaloner

    Finding it hard to edit my post below, hence typos.
    please can someone advise as to the validity of David Heaths response?
    Ina situation as serious as this I find it depressing that he is worrying about party political point scoring rather than the future of the NHS.
    Helen

  • carwill

    Reply received from my MP,  Eric Pickles. 

    “Thank you for contacting me about the Department of Health’s ‘risk register’.

    While the Department remains of the view that there is information contained within the risk register that should not be disclosed for the reasons already set out, it is aware of the public and parliamentary interest in this issue.  The Department has acknowledged that arriving at an early solution would be beneficial to all concerned.

    I am pleased that, for this reason, the Department has encouraged the Tribunal to schedule the hearing for as early a date as possible, while allowing of course for both sides to make the appropriate preparations.  Following this the Tribunal has brought the hearing forward from its initial date in April, to a date in early March.

    I do not think it appropriate to comment further on this issue until the outcome of the Tribunal is known.  The Department will respond when the Tribunal has made is its decision.

    I hope this information is useful and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.”

  • Pauline

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the publishing of the NHS “risk register”. I understand your concerns and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
     
    As you probably know, the NHS in Scotland is completely independent of English NHS boards and the Westminster Parliament; instead being subject to scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament. As such, the changes affecting the NHS south of the border as a result of reform will not have an impact on services in Scotland. Nevertheless, I appreciate that many people living in Scotland are anxious about the changes and the impact that they may have on family and friends living in other parts of the UK.
     
    I have signed Early Day Motion 2659, which calls on the Government to publish the risk register associated with the Health and Social Care Bill reforms.
     
    The Department of Health is already required to be open and transparent about the effects of the Health of Social Care Bill. The information is released through the publication of impact assessments and Ministerial statements. The Government has followed this requirement fully. You can view the documents on the Department of Health’s website at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsLegislation/DH_123583
     
    Health Minister Earl Howe has also stated that he is willing to look into the possibility of identifying any risks in the Risk Register that are not covered by impact assessments, with a view to publishing any which are relevant to the Health and Social Care Bill. This is a step forward and will make the Bill still more transparent.
     
    Liberal Democrats have always been strong supporters of the right for individuals to obtain certain Government information through Freedom of Information requests.
     
    This is why we supported a commitment to introduce a Freedom of Information Act in our 1997 manifesto and why we have announced further extensions of the Act since being elected. During the last parliament, we also campaigned to ensure that the last Labour Government was not allowed to veto Freedom of Information requests as and when it suited them.
     
    There has been a lot of understandable concern around the opposition day debate on Wednesday. As you may know, I abstained from the vote when it was called. This was because I felt that the debate was a political stunt by the Labour Party. Whilst in office, Labour refused to publish risk registers on three separate occasions: it is hypocritical for them to now demand the release of the Register. I do not believe in using important national issues for short term political gain, so I did not support the motion.
     
    I still believe that the register should be published. I do recognise that parts of it contain sensitive information which may be against the public interest to publish and it may be that an edited version would strike a sensible balance.
     
    I will continue to ask the Minister to abide by the Information Commissioner’s judgement as we await the result of the Government’s appeal which is due in March.
     
    I hope that this has been helpful.
     
    Best wishes
     
    Mike.
     
    Mike Crockart
    MP for Edinburgh West

  • Lucy N

    This is almost word-for-word the Tory line. 

    So basically there is no Liberal Democrat support for dropping the NHS Bill -  notice doesn’t mention that the “risk assessment” also covers how to navigate this deplorable bill through parliament – how could this be top secret? oh, I know, it’s because many, many MPs (and former MPs) have tied themselves in to commercial “healthcare” providers, ie, carpet baggers and the bits of the risk registers/assessments and so on might mention these links and how this would play with the public. This isn’t because of their expertise – it’s because of the access they can arrange for commerce.

    Don’t kid yourselves that this dismantling of the ethos of the NHS has anything to do with a level playing field, or some medieval view of “improvement-by-competition” – these business vultures are just landing on what they can see as a phenomenal cash-cow. They will be totally dependent on English taxpayers’ largesse (presumably not Wales, N.Ireland or Scotland) for the bulk of their income: yes, this is bottom line stuff.

  • Lucy N

    What a weird position the Scottish Lib Dems MPs occupy – including abstaining which is an utterly cynical political stunt!

    They know 2 wrongs don’t make a right (but Andy Burnham has answered the charge about older risk registers); they know they won’t suffer like the rest of us because basically the SNP has a fine socialist agenda (so health care may well be protected in future) so to help the Tories stay in power ( and bask in their reflected glory) they are prepared to stymie protects and objections in the Commons.

    Meanwhile the Lib Dems in the Lords, try to ever-so gently edit and nudge the Privatise NHS bill to something like acceptability for them,  also knowing that using “financial” reasons the Tories in the Commons are minded (and can) ignore the serious amendments and keep the teeny-weeny ones that open to wide commercial interpretation.

    Political Stunts!!! Mmmmm, there’s another word for this attitude.

  • Lucy N

    Ask him about his view of the legislative process being circumvented. The register and assessment covers this – why would this be secret? And what about non-officials advice about this (yes, the advice covers how to move this bill through parliament).

    We are not being alarmist here: 38 Degree-ers are well aware that no matter what the coalition partners say, the intention of this bill is to pull-back from universal health-care paid for from universal taxation. 

  • Lucy N

    Here’s a reply from some aid to Nick Clegg to an email I posted on the Lib Dems web site – ….”evolution not revolution”, oh really??? Against “too much competition”…. It’s kind of pathetic wishful thinking – nothing that differentiates them from the Tories really. They’re trying to pretend to  be tough cookies and dudes, but careful tidying up of poor prose in the bill ain’t enough to stop McKinsey, KPMG et al sucking tax payers money their way and away from the NHS.

    Correspondence Assistant, Feb 27 15:56 (GMT):

    Thank you very much for contacting Nick Clegg regarding the NHS risk register. I am replying to correspondence on his behalf.

    The reform of the NHS is clearly a really important issue and Liberal Democrats are working hard to make the proposals as effective as possible. The NHS is facing new challenges of an ageing population and increasing costs of treatments. If we do not make changes now, we will leave our children with a weak and unaffordable NHS that cannot provide the level of service we want it to.

    The main aim of the reforms is to take power out of the hands of middle managers and into the hands of those who know patients best – the doctors and nurses. This will be done by setting up new Commissioning Groups, made up of doctors and other professionals, which will be able to make decisions about their local NHS, so that it suits local people.

    The important thing to remember is that the NHS will remain free at the point of use and always available to everyone. Liberal Democrats will never let the NHS be privatised – and these reforms do not do that. In fact, under Labour, private companies were given special favours. However, Liberal Democrats made sure the Coalition’s reforms put a stop to that.

    When the reforms were first proposed last year, Liberal Democrats were not happy with all the suggestions. We agreed doctors and nurses should have more power, but were worried about some issues like too much competition. We demanded several key changes that were needed to protect the NHS and the Government accepted our ideas, including:

    - No promotion of competition. The number one priority is the interests of patients.

    - No favours for the private sector. It will be illegal to deliberately favour the private sector. Labour gave private companies ‘gold plated’ contracts and paid them £250million for operations they didn’t even perform. Liberal Democrats have put a stop to this.

    - Health Ministers are still accountable. The Secretary of State for Health will be politically and legally accountable for a comprehensive national health service.

    - No decisions behind closed doors. Liberal Democrats made sure the Commissioning Groups will be open, accountable, required to meet in public and subject to Freedom of Information.

    - Reforms are now an evolution not revolution. Changes won’t be rushed and people will only take on extra responsibilities when they are ready.

    You asked specifically about the NHS risk register and why the Government is not publishing it. Risk registers are used by government departments to plan for worst-case scenarios. They range on everything from flu epidemics to terrorist attacks. As you can imagine, publishing these documents could cause unnecessary alarm and compromise sensitive information.

    If the Government publishes the NHS risk register, it would then become normal to publish all registers. An unintended but dangerous consequence would be that government officials hold back vital information for fear of being connected with bad news. The most significant risks would therefore no longer be recorded, and no contingency plans would be identified.

    Nick and the Liberal Democrats believe that the Government should be open and honest about the NHS reforms, and it can be so without the risk register. The Government already has published a huge amount of information about the effects of the NHS reforms through impact assessments. These were last updated in September and contain a number of potential risks and plans to avoid them. I would encourage you to read these at http://bit.ly/enjxAb.

    Thank you once again for contacting Nick about this important issue.

    Best wishes,

    Rory Belcher

    Office of Nick Clegg MP

    _________________________________________________________ 

  • Lee storey

    Organisers should organise a mass protest in London,inviting all sectionds of the country. Possibly thousands and thousands would turn up. I`m considering going to London to protest the at the UNISON protest on March 7th.

  • Chris

    The reply from my MP John Howell which just shows he does not support our campaign!

    I have been consistent and clear that the motion before the House on 22 February concerning the risk register was both wildly opportunistic and hypocritical and was not in the best interests of the NHS.  The Government has been open and transparent about the risk and benefits of reform.  These are set out in a series of impact assessments which were updated as recently as September 2011 and which can be found at:http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsLegislation/DH_123583 It is no coincidence that the e mails I have recently received have chosen to use the term ‘risk report’ rather than the correct term ‘risk register’.  This is more than a semantic issue; it seems to me to be a wholly deliberate tactic amongst those organisations responsible for drafting the campaign e mails so many have used.  By using a more imprecise and fluffy term it has meant that they have not had to explain what a risk register is or how it is used  since to have done so would have completely undermined their case. So much for their commitment to transparency.Risk registers are an internal management tool. They are a tool through which information about risks, however highly improbable, can be recorded to enable the risks to be managed and mitigated. They therefore play a critical role in the delivery of effective government.  As the last Government made clear, putting a risk register in the public domain would be likely to reduce the detail and utility of its contents. This would inhibit the free and frank exchange of views, and inhibit the provision of advice to Ministers. Its release would damage the ability of Ministers to receive accurate advice, and, because the risks referred to are improbable, mislead the public debate and be detrimental to the public interest.  Andrew Lansley’s speech in the debate sets this out more fully at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120222/debtext/120222-0002.htm#12022252001773 starting at 1.55 pm.  The motion to release the risk register was opportunistic and hypocritical. It was clear from the debate on the 22nd February that the then Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, who proposed the motion, had refused a similar request for similar reasons in his time in office.This discussion is now, however, somewhat academic.  The Government’s appeal against the Information Commissioner’s view on the risk register will be heard in a few weeks time.The Government, through these reforms, is committed to more money for the NHS, more freedoms for the NHS and a better future for the NHS. These commitments have my full support and I am proud to have been one of 40 Conservative MPs to have made this support public in a letter to the Sunday Telegraph this weekend.  By supporting these reforms I am standing up for our NHS not just for you and me but for our children and the future.John Howell OBE MPMember of Parliament for HenleyHouse of CommonsLondon, SW1A 0AATel. 020 7219 6676

  • Lucy N

    The government can fool some of the people some of the time, but they can’t fool all the people all the time.

  • Debbe Clark

    The reply from Siobhain McDonagh MP (Lab-Merton) in support of the NHS campaign:-

     Thank you for getting in touch about the coalition Government’s plans
    for the NHS. Hundreds of constituents have contacted me to oppose these
    plans and I wanted to reassure you that I support the NHS 100%, and
    Labour’s commitment to our NHS remains in place. What the Government are
    doing to our NHS is wrong. The reorganisation is unnecessary and was
    never mentioned during the General Election campaign, when top-down
    reorganisations of the NHS were absolutely ruled out.

    The effects of the reorganisation are dire. The intention is to give
    more power over decision-making to the provider rather than the user –
    GPs who have little management experience will be expected to make
    bureaucratic decisions instead of concentrating on being doctors, and
    patients will lose out. Already we see the consequences. Although many
    GPs do a great job, GP practices are private businesses, and a new
    review of health services in SW London called “Better Services, Better
    Value” (BSBV) says more patients should use primary care (often GP
    clinics) instead of hospitals. That means money would go to primary care
    providers like GPs instead of to hospitals, leading to the closure of
    at least one A+E department, maternity unit and children’s hospital
    unit. As a result, the plan to save St Helier Hospital by merging it
    with St George’s Hospital has been dropped because St Helier would not
    receive enough money.

    When it reported this, the Daily Mirror said: “Family doctors could
    force the closure of an NHS hospital for the first time thanks to the
    Government’s “car crash” Health Bill. Union insiders claim a local
    Clinical Commissioning Group – which will run NHS services under the
    reforms – is planning to slash the work GPs send to St Helier Hospital
    in London by 40%, making it ‘unviable’.” I share the Mirror’s fears.

    During Labour’s time in power after 1997, investment in the NHS grew
    enormously. It not only got more money, it improved performance in the
    public’s priority areas. I am especially worried that the coalition are
    removing many of the targets that helped us improve health outcomes,
    like on waiting lists, A&E and cancer. Labour’s investment and
    reforms, and the hard work and dedication of NHS staff, transformed
    patient care. Now I share your concern that the NHS is not safe in their
    hands, and I join you in calling for them to Drop the Bill.

    I hope this is helpful, and if there is anything else I can do for you please do get in touch.

    Yours sincerely,

    Siobhain McDonagh MP

  • Lucy N

     Yes, I’ve heard that St Helier’s is being prepared to become a private hospital. How come that’s considered ok?? Oh, I know, this the government’s preferred form of provision.

  • Louise

    Wow! That is an UNBELIEVABLY arrogant and patronising reply!