Patsy Burstow and the next great NHS betrayal


Patsy n A person regarded as open to victimisation or manipulation; a person upon whom the blame for something falls.

Burstow n A patsy.

It seems a familiar story: The Tories plan legislation that is clearly no good at all – in this case, a legal clause to allow the closure of successful hospitals to prop up failing NHS trusts (Clause 119 of the Care Bill). The Liberal Democrats object and threaten to rebel. The Tories then offer concessions to make it seem less likely that this will happen and the Lib Dems withdraw their objections.

All seems well until the new rules are put to the test. Coalition MPs voiced disquiet at the powers being granted to allow a trust special administrator (TSA) to force through changes at a neighbouring hospital if they consider it necessary to save one that is failing. This power is considered likely to be used to save hospitals run under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which are therefore saddled with huge unnecessary interest bills on the money invested by private companies.

We are told there will be some form of public consultation. Great. Here in Mid Wales, Powys County Council consulted constituents on its plans to cut £20 million from its budget for 2014-15. After the answers came back, the council’s cabinet ignored every single word of the responses and pressed on with its plan. Changes were only brought in after the rest of the council made it clear that they weren’t putting up with those shenanigans.

So much for consultation.

The minute a hospital is closed to prop up the PFI place next door, the Tories will blame Patsy – sorry, Paul – Burstow. They’ll say he had a chance to do something about it but didn’t.

What makes it worse for him is that Labour weren’t going to put up with his shenanigans and forced a vote on his amendment – which would have completely neutered the offending clause. Burstow voted against it – that’s right, against his own amendment, helping the government to a narrow 47-vote victory.

So much for him.

One politician who does seem to have the good of our hospitals at heart is Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham. What did he have to say about all this, during the debate yesterday (March 11)?

“What we have seen … from the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), who positioned himself as though he was going to make a stand for local involvement in the NHS, is the worst kind of collusion and sell-out of our national health service.

“Just as the Liberal Democrats voted for the Health and Social Care Act, again they have backed … the break-up of the NHS.”

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political really needs your help.
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:


9 thoughts on “Patsy Burstow and the next great NHS betrayal

  1. Pingback: Patsy Burstow and the next great NHS betrayal |...

  2. Jean Casale

    I am very disappointed that Burstow did not carry through. I do not trust the Coalition with the NHS. So much has already been sold off.

    Burstow should be forced to resign, he is a traitor to all who voted for him, he has NOT acted in their best interests, as he pledged he would.

    Too many hospitals have already been closed or partially closed, and we need LOCAL hospitals, which should be brought up to scratch if they are not performing properly.

    This government can’t be trusted to deliver because they wont be immediately accountable to the electorate for their actions. The government will prevaricate and shoulder slope the real issues.Their policies are directed to blatantly selling off the NHS.

    The NHS has been scuttled and so much has been sold off to private companies, (without consultation with the public), which will each deal with different aspects of care. How can we expect all these companies to work together cohesively, when each is only there to make their own profits? What happens to the departments which cannot make a profit? It should not be called the National Health Service any more.

    Clause 119 will only make things worse. Under the law, they weren’t allowed to close Lewisham Hospital, but instead of taking note, they just changed the law.
    This Coalition government are a law unto themselves. If a law does not suit their heinous ideological purposes, they just change the law retroactively!

    So what is the point of ‘consultations’, petitions, comments, guidances,
    • etc etc when, even though they never had a mandate from the people, they ruin this country with their capitalistic totalitarian dogma.

  3. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Once again the Lib Dems show themselves the willing partners in the Tories’ dismemberment of the NHS, though in the case of Paul Burstow there also appears to be a naivety mixed in with the desire to the serve the Tories through his ready acceptance of spurious Tory safeguards. This is another good reason why the Lib Dems deserve no-one’s trust, and should not be allowed anywhere near responsible government.

  4. gingerblokeblog

    Reblogged this on gingerblokeblog and commented:
    Honestly, these jokers do not even know what they are doing. I must remember if I go in to parliament: oppose something, threaten to rebel, then vote against my own rebellion; it’s a win-win (or on this case lose-lose) situation.

  5. Thomas M

    The Lib Dems will be remembered as the destroyers or at least the damagers of the NHS. Is this what they really want to be remembered for?

  6. Pingback: Patsy Burstow and the next great NHS betrayal |...

  7. thoughtfullyprepping

    Hands up who voted for them in power. Anyone?
    Come on there must have been someone who thought they would be working for the people (that would be us).
    It is little surprise to me that the LiB Dems are useless and that the Tories are killing off the NHS.
    It’s of little surprise that this blog is probably the nearest you’re going to see to written criticism.

  8. Barry Davies

    It seems that there are only two current MP’s who are genuinely pro NHS one is the Labour member Andy Burnham, the other is the tory Jeremy LeFroy, otherwise they are all pro privatisation, one wonders how many of them like Hunt have shares or positions in the private healthcare and allied utilities companies.

Comments are closed.