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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Does Andy Burnham get anything right

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP in responding to results of the British Social Attitudes survey, which shows the largest ever drop in public satisfaction with the NHS in a single year: "It speaks volumes that the first fall in public satisfaction with the NHS for over a decade came in the first full year of Tory control. "It takes a special kind of incompetence to inherit a successful NHS with patient satisfaction at an all-time high and in just two years in Government turn it into an organisation demoralised, destabilised and fearful of the future.

"Patients can already see the damage being done to services and staff morale by David Cameron's disastrous decision to re-organise the NHS at a time of financial stress. It is heading back to the bad old days of the 80s and 90s with A&E in chaos and patients waiting for hours on trolleys in corridors.

"The NHS was working and people will not forgive David Cameron for allowing it to be turned upside down in a wasteful £3-billion re-organisation at the worst possible time. "Doctors, nurses and midwives repeatedly warned the Prime Minister about the dangers of proceeding with his re-organisation. He chose to ignore them and put his own political pride before the best interests of patients. "David Cameron said the NHS would be his priority but the reality is that under him we've seen waiting lists spiralling out of control the NHS sinking into chaos."

Mr Burnham however fails to point out that dissatisfaction with the Health Service doesn't only apply to England. It applies nationwide including in Wales where the Labour government in Cardiff are cutting Health spending. The Labour party blame this on cuts in their budget from the central government but that is a false claim as both Scotland and Northern Ireland have had the same percentage cuts to spending from Whitehall but they're not cutting Health spending.

In other news about Health the telephone service NHS 111 has now dealt with over 1,000,000 calls since its introduction in August 2010. In April, the majority of calls were dealt with within 60 seconds and 92% of callers were very or fairly satisfied with their NHS 111 experience.

Health Minister Simon Burns said: “This is justification of our decision to launch NHS 111. More and more people are using 111 to find the service that is best for them. NHS 111 is being introduced so patients can reach the whole of the NHS through just one simple number. There is strong support for the new service across the NHS “Patient safety is a key priority and NHS 111 call advisers have to complete a six week training programme which is exactly the same training as 999 operators. They are supported by trained, experienced nurses who are always on hand to take over if the caller needs to speak to someone with clinical skills. It is important that people use NHS 111 when they urgently need care, to be directed to the right service for them.”

However in August 2010 Labour's Andy Burnham said: "NHS Direct is a valued service that helps tens of thousands of people every day and takes pressure off A&E. Over the last decade, it has played an important role in the improvements in patient care in the NHS. "The Health Secretary's statement will stun people across the NHS. It is yet more evidence that Andrew Lansley is on a vindictive mission to break up the NHS, ruthlessly dismantling services before alternatives are in place. "The manner in which this announcement has been made is quite simply appalling. It shows a total disregard for patients and the thousands of staff it will affect across the NHS."

Showing he was totally wrong about the new NHS 111, which unlike NHSDirect is a free service. One wonders does he get anything right on Health, he demanded the Government publish an out of date risk register but refused to do it when Health Secretary himself. He criticised the setting up of a free phone service to replace NHSDirect and 92% of people are happy with the service. He claimed that the Health & Social Care bill will privatise the NHS despite it being written into the bill that the Health Service will remain publicly owned and funded by the taxpayer. He criticises the government for increasing spending on the Health Services referring to it as "reckless" but remains silent on Labour in Wales cutting spending on Health - the only part of the UK to be doing so.

It's Health Questions in the Commons from around 14:30. Will we see Mr Burnham at the opposition dispatch box apologising for the things he has got wrong in the last two years and at the same time congratulate the government as they were right - I doubt it but we can all live in hope.