'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Oh Good Golly Baroness Jolly

Baroness Jolly has written a piece for Lib Dem Voice explaining why Lib Dem peers voted for the NHS Bill in the Lords last night. I'm very unhappy with it - as I've posted on the site and copied below (with a couple of typos corrected). Do pop over and read the piece (I don't want to trample roughshod over their copyright by pasting it here)(unless they tell me that's OK!) and then have a look at my response. Over at the ste, there are some other excellent comments too.

My answer:

Oh dear.
While not denying the enormous amount of work done by Peers to amend this act, these answers simply will not do.
The main thrust of the argument, once again, is that the members of the party, the public and most patronisingly of all the professional bodies like the Royal Colleges or the BMA simply don’t understand this bill and when all the changes are explained, all will be well.
I’m willing to bet the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians (to pick just one example) are both bright enough and informed enough to understand this bill perfectly well. And they think it’s bad for the NHS.
The words used in the piece are also very carefully chosen. For example, ‘commissioning has to be transparent, accountable and free from conflict of interests.’ It is true that commissioning groups now have to declare a financial interest in any organisation they recommend ( unbelievably in the original White Paper signed by Nick, they did not). But there is no bar to stop them still using those companies. It is this sort of detail that ‘lay people’ like me are presumably not meant to understand. But believe me Baroness Jolly, I do..
Similarly while value of money now no longer has primacy over quality of care, my reading of the amendments in this area are that the two have equal import – so decisions will still be made on price. Anyone running a service business will tell you that customers can have any two from three out of cheap, fast and good – but not all 3. The same will be true for NHS patients after this bill passes.
I could go on ( and I have here – http://aviewfromhamcommon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/owen-jones-this-ones-for-you-why-i-wish.html?m=1 ). But the short answer is that this unwieldy piece of legislation is bad for the NHS and we should never have put our name to it.


The comments on the Baroness Jolly article have been almost universally against her piece - but Chris Rennard has stepped in and urged people to look at the amendments in detail (here and here) and the pieces that the party have written explaining what they have done.

In the spirit of balance I have linked to them on here so folk can make their own minds up. I remain of the view however that we should #dropthebill

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