» Thursday, February 8, 2007

Health Service Reconfiguration

Asked if Patricia Hewitt had raised the issue of Cabinet Ministers campaigning against reconfiguration in their own constituencies, the PMOS replied that the issue was not raised. We did need to differentiate between two things. Where there was a local consultation process going on, it was perfectly legitimate for MPs and Ministers to make their views known as local representatives of the community. However it became different when decisions were taken following that consultation and decisions were announced. But we were not yet at this stage.

Asked to characterise the tone of this discussion, had there been concerns by other Cabinet Ministers, the PMOS replied that the tone of the discussion was very supportive of Patricia Hewitt. She was praised for undertaking such a fundamental process and carrying it out with great sensitivity. It was a process that meant firstly updating our thinking in terms of medical practice, because medical practice was dictating structural changes, and secondly responding to what patients had said. In terms of patient satisfaction, this had increased dramatically in the last six months. People could now see the impact of the reforms on their care.

Put to him that while Ministers were entitled to contribute to the consultation process whilst it was going on, the Prime Minister was expecting them to "shut up" once the decision had been made, the PMOS replied that this was a very undiplomatic way of putting it. There was a clear distinction between representing views in a Minister’s constituency whilst the consultation process was going on. But once a decision was made, this of course became part of Government policy. That was not unique to this debate. Asked if representing views included joining demonstrations, the PMOS replied that people represented their views in a variety of different ways. It was perfectly legitimate to represent views in whatever way people wanted. This was no different to any other policy.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news


  1. Isn’t about time that hospital managers who are not up to the job were sacked? After working in the health service for 30 years I’m sure I could run the finanaces bette. Fir the Cheif Exec of thr leicester trust to make the statement that they will treat LESS numebr of patients in the furture when the workload markers in many other hospitals and departments (which are known personally to me) are increasing seems to be ill-judged and a blatent mis-representation of the truth.
    There are many managers like him in the NHS who bleed resource because of the sheer incompitences of the structures they put in place and maintain.

    The staff are working well but like the first world war(many of the management structures wouldbe at home there) the staf are "lions that are led by donkeys".

    Comment by gerry ramsden — 10 Feb 2007 on 11:17 am | Link
  2. When are the government going to address the crisis of newly qualfied nurses not being able to secure jobs, once they have finished their training. It costs \xA3100,000 to train one nurse, not only is it a personal tradegy but a complete waste of taxpayers money.

    Comment by Teresa Fuller — 12 Feb 2007 on 7:38 pm | Link

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