Reshuffle gives government a chance to re-think the future NHS

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Andrew Lansley’s departure as health minister gives the government an opportunity for a complete re-think on the future of the NHS, unions have said.

Unite’s head of health, Rachael Maskell said: “Jeremy Hunt as the new Health Secretary has a real opportunity to ride the public mood and ensure the NHS remains a universal service, free at the point of delivery to all those in need.

“The NHS has been pushed to the brink of destruction by Andrew Lansley – a minister who simply would not listen either to the patients or the professionals.  Jeremy Hunt must reflect deep and hard on the errors of his predecessor and seek immediate dialogue with the NHS team and their unions.

“He has the power to slam the door on the increasing privatisation of the NHS.

“Andrew Lansley must rank as one of the worst health secretaries since the NHS was formed in 1948.

“He presided over deeply, unpopular bungled reforms which  heralded rising  waiting lists; £20bn cuts to services; job losses to thousands of nurses and other health workers; installed an expensive, needless bureaucracy; and announced an open sesame to the private firms which put profit before patient care.

“He was also responsible for dramatic cuts to pay and pensions, as well as long-established terms and conditions. NHS staff have had their morale crushed by Lansley’s unlistening and steamroller mindset.

“David Cameron may have shunted him elsewhere, but serious work is needed now to repair the dreadful damage wrought by Lansley and his policies.”

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “The coalition government presided over the most damaging piece of legislation that the NHS has ever seen in the Health and Social Care Act, and this will be Andrew Lansley’s legacy.

“Changing the name over the door will not change our opinion of the Act. It is about policies, not personalities – and our opposition will continue as long as this Tory-led coalition’s assault on our NHS persists.

“Jeremy Hunt has an opportunity to listen to patients, professionals and unions about the damage the Act will continue to do to the NHS, let’s hope he does not waste it.”

 


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