Sunday, September 04, 2011

But do Liberal Democrats believe the NHS should be run from Whitehall?

Liberal Burblings quotes with approval the words of 38 Degrees, or at least their lawyers:
The bill will remove the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of health services which has been a common and critical feature of all previous NHS legislation since 1946. This is the means by which Parliament ensures the NHS delivers what the public want and expect. 
I can see a strong case for giving the Secretary of State this duty as a means of giving people some prospect legal redress if their are gaps in the service provided.

But I certainly do not agree with the argument that it is the way to give the public what it wants and expects. If that is our aim then we need to make the control of the NHS more local and more democratic.

That should be an analysis all Liberal Democrats share. Certainly, we should have ambitions that go beyond defending the status quo. I would like to have seen more of these ambitions in the emergency motion to the Birmingham conference that is currently being promoted, but maybe that is the nature of emergency motions.

I also commend the call from Free Radical for more nuanced debate on the NHS amongst Liberal Democrats.

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