Oliver Letwin: 'NHS will not exist under Tories'

(37 Posts)
ttosca Fri 26-Jul-13 21:56:49

Oliver Letwin has reportedly told a private meeting that the "NHS will not exist" within five years of a Conservative election victory.

Oliver Letwin has reportedly told a private meeting that the "NHS will not exist" within five years of a Conservative election victory.

The Shadow Chancellor said that the health service would instead be a "funding stream handing out money to pay people where they want to go for their healthcare", according to a member of the audience.

The remarks, which have been furiously denied by Mr Letwin, were last night seized on by Labour as evidence of the Tories' true intentions towards the NHS.

It is not disputed that Mr Letwin met a gathering of construction industry representatives in his constituency of Dorset West on 14 May. During the meeting he urged the group of around six local businessmen to work together to win contracts for a new PFI hospital to be built in Dorchester.

Mr Letwin then astonished his audience, however, by saying that within five years of a Conservative election victory "the NHS will not exist anymore", according to one of those who were present.

Although Mr Letwin's aides later insisted that his remarks had been misinterpreted, it is the second time in recent weeks that his candour has landed him in trouble.

As reported in this newspaper, the Shadow Chancellor told a group of economists that it would be "irrational" to tell voters by how much he wanted to cut public spending. That prompted a gleeful Labour Party to claim that he had let slip a secret Tory plan to cut £135bn from the government budget.

Paul Boateng, the Treasury Chief Secretary, lost no time in seizing on the latest apparent gaffe.

"This proves what we have said all along," he said. "Oliver Letwin and the Tories want to abolish the NHS as we know it. The Tory agenda is one of cuts, charges and privatisation."

However, a Conservative Party spokesman said: "Oliver Letwin categorically said nothing of the sort. What he told the meeting was that within five years a Conservative government would have broken down the monolithic bureaucracy of the health service, putting decision-making in the hands of the hospitals rather than the Whitehall pen-pushers. The result will be a far more efficient and effective NHS.

He added: "As with a report two weeks ago that Mr Letwin had secret plans to make vast cuts in the public services, this report is complete fiction."

www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/letwin-nhs-will-not-exist-under-tories-6168295.html

Boggler Fri 26-Jul-13 23:49:49

Oliver Letwin is not the shadow chancellor, he's conservative for starters. confused

ssd Fri 26-Jul-13 23:51:57

course he is, his name gives it away for starters

edam Sat 27-Jul-13 00:05:57

Just wish he'd tell the truth to the public, rather than saving it for business people he thinks will bid to take over bits of the NHS when the Tories flog it off.

timidviper Sat 27-Jul-13 00:10:16

Boggler is right. He is a Tory so not a shadow anything and I am now totally confused,

ttosca Sat 27-Jul-13 00:37:54

You're right. It's probably just an editorial mistake.

The author may have started off with a sentence about the actual shadow chancellor and then changed their mind.

TabithaStephens Sat 27-Jul-13 08:41:03

It mentions the Shadow Chancellor twice. The current Shadow Chancellor is Ed Balls.

flatpackhamster Sat 27-Jul-13 09:05:36

It's not an editorial mistake. The article is nine years old, from April 2004.

TabithaStephens Sat 27-Jul-13 12:27:36

Why the hell is Ttosca posting it now?

ssd Sat 27-Jul-13 12:59:55

ttosca. .I hate the tories too, but rehashing an old, incorrect article does you no favours.

flatpackhamster Sat 27-Jul-13 13:15:43

TabithaStephens

Why the hell is Ttosca posting it now?

Because the socialist fairies in her head told her that we would all be won over to her point of view if she did.

Solopower1 Sat 27-Jul-13 14:17:12

It's obvious that the Tories have been thinking about this for a long time. Something that is free for everyone and paid for by the taxpayer goes against everything the Tories believe in, so no surprises there.

And within five years of a Tory victory at the next elections? Five minutes more like!

flatpackhamster Sat 27-Jul-13 14:52:45

Obvious to a conspiracy theorist who knows noting about the Tory party, yes.

Solopower1 Sat 27-Jul-13 14:56:08

Them too, yes.

MrJudgeyPants Sun 28-Jul-13 00:35:05

So are we now two years away from the NHS being turned into a 'funding stream' or is this article a load of leftie propaganda bollocks?*

(* Despite my own stated preference for exactly this sort of change to the NHS)

BMW6 Sun 28-Jul-13 08:51:42

Epic fail,ttosca try reading the damn things before you cut n'paste and check out the date of the article grin

niceguy2 Sun 28-Jul-13 09:41:28

Ha! Another load of usual utter bollocks that we've come to expect from Ttosca.

Don't let little things like fact or reality get in the way of a good old Tory bashing.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:15:19

I just think the date thing shows how the Tories' attack on the NHS is not just a response to the recession/deficit/debt but an integral part of their policy and their philosophy, and always has been.

It also makes it more likely that DC was lying through his teeth when he assured us before the last election that the NHS would be alright with him in order to fool us into voting for him.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:18:32

Also, much of the 'utter bollocks' that Ttosca posts does not come from him/her but from newspaper articles that s/he finds.

I like having these articles brought to my attention.

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 10:30:27

Old article, pretty accurate.

The election was in 2010 - not actually a Tory victory but they got enough power to make stuff happen.

Bill to privatise NHS by outsourcing services was passed 2012.

2013, bidding opened on 1bn contract for NHS services to the elderly in Cambridgeshire. And it's not the first.

The Tories have been very open that their aim is an NHS brand name being used by "any willing provider". Private companies whose core business is Getting Govt Contracts Regardless of Field, like Serco, G4S, etc, are best placed to fulfil the administrative and financial side of the bid processes. They then subcontract providing the services to people who actually do healthcare, or prisons, or security, but cream off money for being the middlemen.

There's no reason to imagine this will actually provide better healthcare per pound spent than the real NHS. But it is a surefire way to convert taxpayers into shareholder profits.

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 10:35:01

taxpayers' money

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 10:48:34

BTW, it's not just the Tories: much of this stuff was in train under Labour, though I'm not sure how it would have differed in detail.

So all those to whom tribal allegiance is the most important thing in your lives: you just keep bitching at each other about My Team/Your Team.

The rest of us, who give an actual shit about services and what sort of country we are, will look at what's being done rather than just who's doing it.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 11:17:35

What Parsing said!

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 11:18:45

Here's The Telegraph's summary last year: "Read this ? and prepare to fight for your NHS"

The most obvious feature of the new model - other than diverting the "funding stream" into private, profit-making hands - is fragmentation.

Fragmentation of care.
Fragmentation of provision.
Fragmentation of responsibility.
Fragmentation of accountability.
Fragmentation of administration.

This is fundamental to the new model, not some minor side issue that can be coped with as and when.

The administrative costs of this much fragmentation are high: the danger to patients obvious.

IrnBruTheNoo Sun 28-Jul-13 11:35:24

Not too worried over this, as I'm in Scotland and hope that independence will cover us (i.e. reduce the chances of NHS Scotland becoming completely privatised).

DS1 had an accident on holiday in England, we went to the local A&E and it is such a poor service compared to what is offered in Scotland. I was less than impressed. Not a good first impression I have to say. Made me appreciate greatly what we've got in Scotland, tbh.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 11:43:11

I hope you're right, IrnBru, but no-one knows how things would pan out if we were independent.

On the other hand, my son had an accident when we were in England and needed an emergency op in Burnley. Everything about the care we received, from the extraordinary skill of the surgeon to the kindness of the ancillary staff just could not have been improved upon.

But yes, healthcare in Scotland is fantastic too.

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 12:20:43

Here's Mark Britnell at an American conference for private healthcare providers in 2010:

"In future, The NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer" and "The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years."
Opportunities Post Global Healthcare Reforms, p12

BTW, Britnell was the Dept of Health civil servant who oversaw the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups, which will administer the outsourcing. Jobs previously done by management professionals in the Health Authorities will now be done by the CCGs, so the doctors on the CCGs have to pay professional services companies like KPMG to do these jobs and to train doctors to be administrators (wow, what a good use of an expensively trained doctor's time). Eg 7 million contract in 2011 with "private consultants handpicked by NHS bosses".

I will give you three guesses where Britnell was working by 2011.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 12:25:56

I often wonder how much of this sort of thing is done by the named politicians who take all the glory and all the flack, and how much of it is behind the scenes stuff that gets taken forward by unelected, nameless civil servants.

Civil servants are not supposed to make policy, just to implement it, right?

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 12:36:36

Hah. What actually happens, according to friends who work in such circles, is that civil servants tend to develop pet projects, to which they hitch their star.

They then present the same project, again and again, to every incoming minister in the hope that this one will bite.

Which is why you see the same or similar ideas come up whenever there's a change of govt or reshuffle.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 13:03:10

So do the top civil servants also get lobbied?

flatpackhamster Sun 28-Jul-13 13:23:29

Solopower1

So do the top civil servants also get lobbied?

Yes, they're unthinking automata without any opinions of their own who have been cynically manipulated by the wicked perpetrators of capitalism.

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 13:32:24

Ooh I don't think so, Flatpack. I think they probably have very strong political views of their own. I just wonder if they should have the political power to devise and implement their own pet projects - which reflect their own agendas - unless they are elected representatives of the people.

However, they do have to get the govt in power to bite, as Parsing said. So I suppose that's alright then?

Rooners Sun 28-Jul-13 13:33:43

I can see why she posted it. Well I think so anyway. Isn't it to show what a bunch of cunts the tory party are, that they denied this when it came out but now, in fact, it's exactly what they are trying to do?

May be being simplistic here. I'm not very good at discussing politics.

ParsingFancy Sun 28-Jul-13 13:45:59

And given we agree civil servants are not unthinking automata, flatpack, you will easily grasp that of course they can have political views of their own (although officially they have to tread carefully), and ambition for their career within the civil service and also outside it.

flatpackhamster Sun 28-Jul-13 17:05:08

ParsingFancy

And given we agree civil servants are not unthinking automata, flatpack, you will easily grasp that of course they can have political views of their own (although officially they have to tread carefully), and ambition for their career within the civil service and also outside it.

If you're looking for someone who thinks the civil service is marvellous and brilliant, I'm not that person. I think they're overmighty and arrogant and primarily interested in extending their own power, and I'd gladly clip their wings.

Solopower1

Ooh I don't think so, Flatpack. I think they probably have very strong political views of their own. I just wonder if they should have the political power to devise and implement their own pet projects - which reflect their own agendas - unless they are elected representatives of the people.

Agree with you that they shouldn't. As the primary function of a bureaucracy is to self-perpetuate, though, I don't see how we could easily stop it.

However, they do have to get the govt in power to bite, as Parsing said. So I suppose that's alright then?

Given the idiocy of your average politician, I'm not sure what the answer is to this problem.

grimbletart Sun 28-Jul-13 18:49:14

Ha ha.That has to be the oldest zombie report ever.

WetAugust Sun 28-Jul-13 22:39:26

So do the top civil servants also get lobbied?

Nah - they just pick up lucrative appointments in the private sector. with those companies, when they retire.

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