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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

John Prescott, Labour and the truth about NHS Direct

On Saturday I blogged about the breaking news that the coalition government were planning to scrap NHS Direct and asking whether this in fact was the right decision.

Well it looks like the proposed changes will only improve the current service - straight away the new 111 service will be free to call unlike NHS Direct now, you pay for that privilege.

Where NHS Direct can only highlight other services, when you call NHS 111 you will be able to book a GP appointment or go straight through to local out of hours services. If you do need an ambulance the 111 service will cut out the need to go through the 999 service assessment.
Since Saturday the story has moved on a great deal, and I do hope and appeal once again that in future the Minister or Ministry responsible either announce these major policy shifts through parliament or at the very least announce it to the media in a proper manner.

Labour, especially via mouthpiece John "I want to be treasurer of the bankrupt party" Prescott have seized on this and are setting up websites claiming to Save NHS Direct.

In fact yesterday I ended up having a spat with John Prescott on twitter.

Leadership contender Andy Burnham MP said at the weekend of the announcement;
"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 reason Andy Burnhams comments, and the argument I used with John Prescott is that Labour are NOT being honest with the voters (again).  Actually they are being complete hypocrites.

That is not a comment I make lightly.

On page 35 of this year's Labour Party manifesto, sits the following paragraph:
"A new, national 111 telephone number will make non emergency services far easier for people to access and book."
Would the Labour government if still in power have had this 111 service running alongside NHS Direct?

Of course not!

Labour were planning to scrap NHS Direct themselves and replace it with a 111 service.

Yet Andy Burnham accused Andrew Lansley of being on a "vindictive mission to break up the NHS" when he would have done exactly the same thing himself.

John Prescott argued with me on twitter that "40% of NHSD staff are nurses - 1400. Your plan = replace them with call centre advisors. Ours was to change number."

What John Prescott omits there in his answer is that 60% of the staff are call centre advisors already.

They are taking people for fools in opposition in much the same way as they did in Government and unfortunately many people are still believing their shameful lies.


Caron said...

Even Tom Harris is disowning the Labour campaign against the scrapping of NHS Direct! They have surely cocked up on this one.

Get Labour Out said...

Great post Andrew - and it's about time people like Prescott are shown up for the liars, hypocrites and half truth merchants they are.

After Ed Miliband calling for the extinction of the Lib Dems and now Burnham (I won't even list Balls-ups) I hope Prescott gets to be treasurer - the Labour party are bankrupt of ideas as well.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Not sure what the fuss is all about. ERI has an out of hours, walk in, GP service. If their reception staff would spend a couple of hours learning how to be charming, rather than combative, it would bypass stupid helplines altogether.

I needed to take my son there recently. On the first visit, we were booked by NHS 24, and then told by the duty GP to return if things got complicated. Well things did get complicated so we returned, and were asked by a po-faced receptionist, who had clearly been sucking on a urine-soaked nettle, why we had not gone through NHS24 again. We were let in anyway, obvioiusly under sufference, and a few hours later my son was in the operating theatre.

It strikes me that NHS24 was a bad idea to start with. When my son was an infant, no such thing existed, and our doctor, the one we knew, the one who came from a Tory-created, self governing practice, would turn out at night in person,just to check on a rash.

If this new "helpline" is just another layer of job-creation schemes for people who hate the public, I would rather we returned to the old system, thanks.

Nash said...

Good blog!

What did you expect from "incompotent" and clueless Labour!?

As for Prescott - well since he betrayed his wife - why should Labour supporters expect any better treatment?

...and loyal Mr Burnham - well it is his duty to oppose whatever the Coalition proposes because even though he does not understand anything, opposing whatever it is, is the "loyal" thing to do!

Anonymous said...

Labour telling porky pies??
Surely not!

But your chum Simon Hughes still fances a bunk up with them later in this Parliament or the next...

Anonymous said...

why are we still bothered about what a washed up champagne socialist has to say

Fenrir said...

They won't fool me again, even if a senior Labour appartchik told me that John Prescott was a fat ignorant loudmouth I would struggle to believe them without corroborating sources; fortunately there are many that support that allegation.

subrosa said...

For the sake of clarity the change to the 111 system is only to be within the English NHS. As far as I'm aware it is not being introduced into the Scottish NHS system.

I can't help but agree with WW. The insistence of A & E staff that one should have proceeded through NHS24 rather than turn up is completely hypocritical. My local hospital, in summer, has a queue outside A & E. None has come through NHS 24. The majority are EU migrants who haven't even registered with a doctor. They are seen in the way we were seen years ago. That's the way it should be.

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