This week we have seen the Tories announce a major overhaul of the NHS. Indeed the plan has been described as the most radical overhaul of the NHS since it was created. It essentially removes any democratic control of the NHS, it removes much of the strategic planning that currently exists across areas, and with the removal of the PCTs it eradicates the economies of scale that are clearly evident in a Primary Care Trust that covers, for example, a whole County. Instead, we are to have groups of Doctors (this weeks government buzzword is "consortia" who will have their own admin staff, their own accountants, their own HR people, their own IT staff, who will run what services they want to provide locally.
Anyone who knows anything about economics can see that this is going to save absolutely no cash at all. Indeed, Paul Burstow, the Lib Dem MP wheeled out by the Tories this week to justify the Tories latest insult to the intelligent, argued that many PCT staff who will lose their jobs will find themselves employed by the new consortia. So no doubt having received a redundancy pay off (from out taxes) these people will then get the same job back with the doctors. Now that really is saving cash !
At present we have PCTs who can refuse to prescribe certain drugs (particularly life saving cancer drugs). Whatever will happen now if a local consortia have a cancer patient who needs an expensive cancer drug ? Do we think that a local doctor is more likely to give this from their budget ? Don't be so stupid.
Of course, it wouldn't be so bad had any of this been in the party manifestos. According to the Lib Dems own health policy, the party pledged;
We will scrap central targets and guarantee that you get your treatment on time. We will give people the power to stop hospital closures in their area through elected local health boards. And we will put doctors and nurses back in charge of their hospitals and wards.Clearly handing power to Doctors removes any vestiges of control away from people and democratically elected officials, so clearly the Tories have got the better of the deal.
Did Liberal Democrat voters vote Lib Dem in order to see the Tories introduce a much more divided, less democratic system which is at odds with Lib Dem policy in so many areas ?
Then we read that the BBC is to be cut back in order to show that the BBC must take its share of the pain in the recession. I don't buy this for one moment.
We all know that the Tories have for a long time wanted to see the BBC become a pale shadow of what it is. There are many Tories who would rather see 150 channels of the rubbish produced by SKY, Living TV, Challenge TV, and the many other cable and satellite channels, which cost the consumer up to £70 a month, rather than see the BBC set a standard not only for British TV and Radio, but also to the rest of the world, and all this for only two months of a full subscription to SKY.
Of course, there are the other reasons for the Tories wanting to attack the BBC. Firstly, the Tories got the full backing of Murdoch. Murdoch hates the BBC and has attacked it for years. The other reason is that the BBC is the very antithesis of Conservatism. It does not make a profit, but it provides a valuable service. This is something the Tories don't get. For all their talk of regret over making cuts, we all know that Tories loathe anything that does not turn a profit.
So in a few years time we are faced with the prospect of an emasculated BBC as the price the Tories are willing to pay for the support of The Sun and Murdoch, and the Lib Dems will have played their part in ensuring that this happens.
Is this why you voted Lib Dem ?
It's not why I voted Lib Dem.