Faced with the prospect of a crushing defeat at the hands of Lords crossbenchers, the coalition has been forced into a humiliating climbdown on the Lobbying Bill. And with the legislation — the parliamentary charge of Andrew Lansley – now the subject of a six-week pause, it’s worth remembering the last time this happened and who was responsible: the Health Bill and, errrr, Andrew Lansley.
The bill was temporarily pulled after non-aligned peers were poised to spike the legislation for months. With the coalition now promising to consult “all interested parties”, Scrapbook and other other British blogs will certainly welcome the opportunity for a frank exchange of views on proposals — sneaked into Part 2 of the bill – to gag them along with charities and campaigning organisations.
The similarity with the Health Bill — which was brought to a grinding halt for weeks after incompetent handling by Lansley – is uncanny. He is certainly earning his moniker of “Broken Arrow” bestowed by Grahame Morris at the height of his 2011 troubles:
A private equity tycoon linked to £300,000 in donations to the Conservative Party has been given a peerage and a job in government. John Nash is the new education minister, replacing Lord Hill — the peer who tried (and ineptly failed) to resign from the government but has now finds himself the Tories’ leader in the Other Place.
Pre-empting the cash-for-jobs headlines, the Tories have attempted to parry criticism with a briefing on Nash donations to the Speccie’s James Forsyth:
“I suspect that there’ll be a media squall over the fact that Nash and his wife have donated £300,000 to the Tories over the years. But the fact that Andrew Adonis involved him in the academies programme and that Pimlico was turned around in record time shows that he’s qualified for the job and more than just a deep-pocketed donor.”
But even the peerage is dwarfed by the government contracts and favourable legislation thrown in the direction of companies in which Nash has an interest. In May 2011, a company part-owned by Nash secured a £69m contract awarded by Iain Duncan Smith’s DWP for the Work Programme.
Perhaps his most controversial transaction came as chairman of Care UK, one of the largest private healthcare firms in the country and which will trouser tens of millions of pounds thanks to Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act. Nash donated £21,000 to Lansleysix months before the general election when he was a shoo-in for health secretary.
The CEO of the US bank accused of “scheming” with Iran to dodge economic sanctions is a top executive at the Department for Health. Peter Sands was appointed lead non-executive director at DH by, erm, Andrew Lansley last year.
Sands served as CEO of Standard Chartered bank from 2006, which overlapped with the 2001-2010 period in which New York State’s Department of Finance has claimed that the bank “schemed with the government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250bn”
The episode is redolent of the scandal surrounging trade minister and former HSBC boss Lord Green, whose bank was similarly chastised by US authorities after allowing drug cartels to launder money. It seems that former Labour trade minister Lord Mervyn Davies was also a key player at Standard Chartered, during the relevant period.
A member of the government has taken to Twitter to attack Andrew Lansley over the closure of a specialist children’s heart unit at a hospital near her constituency, claiming that the health secretary had refused to meet with local MPs before making the decision.
Nicky Morgan, PPS to universities minister David Willetts, said she was “stunned” that she hadn’t been able to put her concerns to the Health Secretary before the decision – which means drastically increased travelling times for vulnerable families — was made.
Absolutely stunned to hear Andrew Lansley has signed off on ECMO move from Glenfield without local MPs able to put concerns to him first.
Hypocrite Morgan is the latest member of the government to back Lansley over NHS changes — only to start whining when it affects their constituency. She follows in the frontbench footsteps of Foreign Secretary William Hague, who joined a protest in May against cuts to his constituency hospital.
It seems battered Lansley is now adopting the “La, la, la! I can’t hear you!” approach to criticism.
If you thought the NHS restructuring document we on Tuesday evening on our earlier post looked confusing, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Highlighted on Twitter yesterday, Lansley’s Commissioning Board Special Health Authority have published a mind-boggling flow-chart they call the Commissioning Intelligence Model (full version).
The chart lists a whopping 70 questions which NHS execs will have to ask themselves. Scrapbook finds the presence of “What difference have we made?” and “What’s really happening?” as instructive. In a bad way.
The chart seems to ridicule further Andrew Lansley’s claims that his reforms will rid the NHS of unnecessary bureaucracy. Some of the most mind-boggling examples of bureaucratic BS from the document include:
“Clinical Pathway mapping” and “modelling and cost comparators”
“Master Data Administration” (inc “Common currencies” & “agreed standardisation techniques”)
“Age-sex-deprivation standardised comparative data at Practice level for commissioned activity” (inc “practice specialism”)
Let’s hope Lansley has a better grasp on this than he seems to.
The coalition’s NHS reforms will sweep away bureaucracy, insisted Robert Halfon MP today in the latest attempt to shore up a fatally wounded Andrew Lansley. He obviously hasn’t seen the chaotic plans for NHS London leaked to investigative journalist David Hencke.
Lansley’s reforms will abolish the binary system of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities, replacing it with the mess depicted above (click here for full version). The leak reveals that many more divisions will be brought into the NHS and attempts to map the, erm, clear lines of responsibility – between some 20 different bodies.
Or, as memorably put by Hencke:
“Far from creating fewer bodies it seems to create a plethora of new bureaucratic ones who will have more complicated relationships than a man with 20 mistresses.”
Minister pursued down corridors at Royal Free Hospital
Hospital staff were “hand-picked” to minimise trouble
Journalist banned from visit still grabs picture
Andrew Lansley was pursued down hospital corridors this afternoon, according to journalists on the scene at North London’s Royal Free. While print and online journalists were kept away from the health secretary, local hack Tom Foot still managed to grab the snap above.
And despite attempts at stage management (there are claims that meet-and-greet staff were vetted in advance) and entering the premises via a back entrance, a member of the public still confronted Lansley with his police escorts watching on.
It’s uncertain whether the solitary video camera authorised to film caught this exchange.
After an ill-advised dalliance with misogynystic themes which saw rapper NxtGen remove one of his videos from YouTube, the Loughborough MC has returned to form with another tune about the health secretary.
It’s a tough pick but our favourite line is:
“Now a committee of MPs is on the attack, because they know the Health and Social Care Bill’s a load of crap.”