A report on why Mid Staffordshire hospital failings went unchecked for so long makes important points. Robert Francis QC, who led the inquiry, avoided the temptation to blame all that went wrong on a few people who could then be punished, or call for yet another round of reorganisation. Instead he revealed disturbing flaws in the culture of the NHS and other agencies linked with health and social care.
UK government Cabinet papers from 1982, now released under the 30-year disclosure rule, confirm that the dismantling of the welfare state, the privatisation of the NHS and the savage cutting of public services has been a long-held ambition of the Conservative party.
With Chris Huhne’s resignation, it is generally agreed that the Liberal Democrats have lost their strongest voice in Cabinet, and will be even less able to exert influence over government policies. His seat as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was barely cold before Conservative backbenchers were pressing for a reduction in subsidies for renewable energy.
Organisations of health professionals have been lining up to denounce the Health and Social Care Bill. In view of the potential hazards to patients arising from reforms to the National Health Service in England, it is not hard to understand why.