letter to a Tory MP about the health bill

Subject: Health and Social Care Bill

Dear Mr Harrington
You are doubtless aware of the grave damage the enactment of the proposed Lansley legislation will do, not only to the NHS which is held in such affection and regard by the public at large, but also to the image and reputation of the Conservative Party.  The full impact of the destruction of the present NHS, still seeking to offer a patient-centred, coordinated and collaborative service, and its replacement with a disintegrated, competitive, market-driven parody of the dreadful US commercial system will be only too apparent when the next General Election comes around. 
It is particularly revealing to me to note the Prime Minister’s treachery to an NHS to the superb performance of which he has so often and so fulsomely paid tribute in the past.  I have had the good fortune to spend the whole of my professional life working in what has been a morally rewarding organisation with the simple goal of doing as much good as was possible for the public it served.  Along with the great majority of my doctor and nurse colleagues I totally repudiate the government assertion, based upon zero evidence, that the provision of care for the sick and the prevention of disease in the community will be better driven by a business ethic with its commercial bottom line. 
To me this Bill is a democratic deception which the government, without mandate, is inflicting on the British public.  You know full well, despite subsequent weasel words, that nothing of this sort was set before the public at the Election.  But it also an historical tragedy that, out of ideological spite, the destruction of a great and successful social enterprise will be the indelible legacy of your Party. 
As my representative in Parliament, I call on you to oppose this act of politically inspired vandalism with all possible force
Yours sincerely
Harry Keen
Professor Harry Keen CBE MD FRCP
Unit for Metabolic Medicine
Diabetes & Endocrine Clinical Unit
rd floor, Southwark Wing
Guy’s Hospital Campus, KCL, London SE1 9RT

6 responses to “letter to a Tory MP about the health bill

  1. Will anything work at all as Nick Clegg has decided.

  2. Hear, hear Prof. Just looking at your blogroll thought you might find John Seddon’s work of interest (http://www.thesystemsthinkingreview.co.uk/). I started working with him just recently after 20 years in NHS senior management. His ideas are new in health and I am blogging about our experiences as we learn.

  3. P45 for Professor Keen.

  4. Hats off to you Prof K the response will be interesting if you get one. Saddens me that it’s going to take needless deaths of elderly,poor and sick before we as a nation change a govt who has every intention of allowing non qualified commercial consultants a free run at our Health Service and who will view a positive outcome as something attached to financial profit.

  5. Well put sir.

  6. A well worded and heart felt letter. There is little support for the bill from the public or medical workers and much opposition. There has been no compelling case for the reforms put forward, only hollow sounding reassurances about what it will not do and vague insistence that it will make things better. There is no public mandate for the proposals – indeed they run against several pre-election pledges. There has been little evidence of the need for change – in terms of cost/person against health outcomes the NHS is shown to be one of the most efficient systems in the world, the US market led system performing very badly by comparison. There have been no pilot studies, which surely would be prudent before such a massive change. I am in total agreement with you that this bill does not represent a positive plan for the future of the NHS.

    Unfortunately I fear that the majority of Tories are not open to reason on this matter. Ideology tells them that a market approach and reduced state control will is always improve things. Its very easy to believe evidence that agrees with pre-existing prejudices and ones peers and extremely hard to follow evidence that goes against them.

    What surprises me is that the vast majority of Lib Dem MPs look set to back this too. I know they are the junior partner in this coalition, but this is not a minor compromise. By allowing this to be pushed through many Lib Dem MPs will not only be going against their previously expressed best judgement, but also committing electoral suicide. This baffles me – surely there is more to this than trying to maintain a small governmental influence? There’s little point in having power if, when push comes to shove, you refuse to exercise it on one of the most important issues this parliament is likely to have put before it. I would genuinely love to hear honest answers as to why Lib Dem MPs are about to back this…

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