The National Health Service — 8 Mar 2000

I beg to move,

That this House deplores HM Government's clinical and financial mismanagement of the NHS; condemns the distortion of clinical priorities resulting from the Prime Minister's refusal to abandon the Government's flawed waiting list initiative, which is described by the medical profession as anathema to them and which has resulted in some of the sickest patients waiting longer than necessary for treatment; notes the financial chaos in Trusts and Health Authorities as a result of ministerial incompetence; and deprecates the misleading of the public about funding as a result of the Treasury's culture of repeatedly re-announcing financial decisions, and the practice of using the NHS as a means of providing publicity and photo opportunities for Ministers, putting political priorities before the morale of dedicated and hard-working NHS staff and to the detriment of patient care.

The point is they are there, they're waiting, they're registrars, senior registrars or whatever. Professor Alberti--

himself the source on these matters says they are there, but there is not the money to create the consultancy posts.

But that isn't true . . . That simply isn't true.

He claimed that an expansion of consultant cardiologists could not take place immediately because it would take time to train such specialists. He stuck to this view despite the comments of Professor George Alberti to the contrary.

As a trained cardiologist looking for a consultant position, I take great issue with these comments because they are incorrect. There is in fact a surfeit of trained cardiologists in this country compared to consultant posts arising and projected to arise. It is estimated that there are about 50 trained cardiologists currently seeking consultant posts. I am one of three fully trained cardiologists . . . who face unemployment in the next few months following termination of our training posts under the new Calman scheme . . . On the 21st January, I met with my local MP--

. . . to discuss the situation. I provided her with the above information, which she immediately relayed to Alan Milburn's department for comments. One would assume therefore that he was aware of the situation when he made his comments on the Today programme.

the College does not expect there to be any fully-trained unemployed cardiologists by the end of 2000 and indeed there are several unfilled posts at present.

The 400 additional heart specialists announced today are already in the NHS as specialist registrars on the training ladder.

We are renovating every accident and emergency department in the country?--[ Official Report , 21 July 1999; Vol. 335, c. 1188.]

I am writing to confirm that there will be a National Insurance liability on Health Care payments . . .

All such payments should go through the payroll and will incur Employer's NI at a rate of 12.2 per cent.

If we abandoned waiting lists, you guys--

would come down on us first and then patients would come down on us.

That means that Ministers' reputations come first and patient care comes second.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"welcomes the Government's modernisation programme for the NHS and the reduction in waiting lists and times that are being achieved through the dedication and hard work of NHS staff; notes the progress being made on recruiting more doctors and more nurses, building more hospitals, treating more patients and modernising more services; applauds the Government's decision to make tackling cancer, coronary heart disease and mental illness a priority; believes that financial provision for the NHS would be reduced as a consequence of the Conservatives' Tax Guarantee and that clinical need would be abandoned in favour of ability to pay under the Conservatives' health plans."

using the NHS as a means of providing publicity and photo opportunities . . .

William Hague has agreed to be filmed in a variety of situations.

take on a role in the hospital for half a day; a porter's job or something similar.

swingeing cuts in the health service.

No one will be denied the drugs they need. That is guaranteed . . . ?--[ Official Report , 30 June 1998; Vol. 315, c. 143.]

hip and knee replacements, hernia and cataract operations

leaving the NHS to do other things? It was not a slip of the tongue: later that month, on "Sky News", the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) made it absolutely clear that, under Conservative plans, people would look to the NHS

when they had serious life-threatening conditions and would look to their private insurance to help them

The Conservatives are no longer concerned with the maintenance of the NHS as the primary provider.

reduction in waiting lists and times that are being achieved through the dedication and hard work of NHS staff.

will do better . . . We will restore the NHS as a public service.

With Labour, the measure will be quality of outcome.

There is no funding system or health care system that is fairer or more efficient than the NHS.

when they had serious life-threatening conditions and would look to their private insurance to help them

Most managers are under extreme pressure to reach the targets. Waiting lists are being manipulated and as a doctor I find that completely unethical.

The British people want a system which guarantees that nobody ever has to endure the harrowing experience of someone whose treatment was postponed so often it became inoperable. They want a system that doesn't put half a million patients on the waiting list to get on the waiting list . . . a system in which doctors decide who should be treated, when and . . . no wait exceeds a clinical maximum. The Government has meddled with the system, making the sickest wait longest, which is . . . simply wrong. Staff are demoralised because they can't do what they were trained to do. The Government has raised expectations but they don't match people's experience. For the first time in a generation, we have a chance to hold an honest debate on how to buttress the NHS but the Government has closed its mind. The Prime Minister says there is "no alternative" to the Government's present strategy. What a missed opportunity! There is debate everywhere--in the press, in the professions and amongst the public. But the Government won't debate the options.

hip and knee replacements, hernia and cataract operations,

when they had serious life-threatening conditions, and . . . to their private insurance to help them

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 179, Noes 307.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 135 (+2 tell)085.6%
Lab306 (+2 tell) 0074.0%
LDem0 38082.6%
PC1 0025.0%
SNP0 1016.7%
UUP0 5050.0%
Total:307 179076.3%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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