Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Why Lansley is now an asset to the NHS

Who cares if Andrew Lansley stays or goes? Either way he is now an asset to the NHS

As soon as the Health and Social Care Bill became an Act of Parliament, its architect, Andrew Lansley, suddenly became an asset to the NHS. This is because the only hope for the future of the NHS is for the Act to be repealed ASAP. This is only possible if the coalition Government falls at the next election. The way the polls are going, this looks increasingly likely. The latest YouGov/Sun poll showed Labour’s highest ever lead since You/Gov polling began in 2002 – a whopping 14%. Of course, things may change, especially if the economy recovers, but with the ongoing Euro crisis this is looking increasingly unlikely. Meanwhile, the Tories are being rebranded as the “nasty party” with a new added twist of “incompetence”, and support for the LibDems has imploded.

This is the part where Lansley now comes in as an asset to the NHS. He has managed to retoxify the Tories on the NHS and also succeeded in spreading the poison to their LibDem coalition partners. Even senior members of his own party famously said he should be “taken out and shot”. His reforms will make the NHS a major issue at the next General Election, probably second only to the economy in importance. He has completely alienated the medical, nursing and other allied health professionals, so the coalition will come in for a kicking on this issue. In fact, he has managed to upset the professions so much that NHS professionals are setting up a new political party to contest coalition MPs (See this BBC story). Neither of these pro-marketising and pro-privatising parties will ever be trusted on the NHS again. Their credibility is completely shot.

It gets worse for the Tories and the coalition too. When it comes to the future of Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary, they are in a lose-lose situation, otherwise known as a win-win situation for NHS supporters. If he remains in post, the coalition’s credibility on the NHS will continue to nosedive, reducing their chances of re-election. If he is sacked in a reshuffle then this would amount to a Government acknowledgement that the Health and Social Care Act is a bad Act. After all, it is Lansley’s baby – he owns it. The Health and Social Care Act is part of the Lansley brand and vice versa. He is the only person in Government that understands it. Rejection of Lansley is a therefore rejection of the Act.

This is all music to the ears of NHS campaigners because it really doesn’t matter if Lansley stays or goes. He is just as toxic either way. He has truly become a great asset to NHS campaigners fighting for the future of the English NHS.

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