Tag Archives: replacement

Some consolation prize! May could be forced to resign – and her replacement could be a NIGHTMARE

Leaving by the back door? Theresa May could be forced out of 10 Downing Street as a condition of Tory MPs accepting her withdrawal agreement.

The last two Tory prime ministers have been among the worst in UK history – if not the very worst. But they could be models of good practice in comparison with what may repace Theresa May if some of her party members get their way.

Remember when I suggested that the agreements Mrs May brought back from Strasbourg on Monday could represent an attempt to pass the difficult decisions of Brexit on to a successor? It seems I was right.

Professor Simon Wren-Lewis drew the same conclusion in his Mainly Macro blog piece on the future direction of Brexit negotiations.

He wrote: “At some point during the transition period Theresa May could be replaced as Prime Minister. It seems very likely, given the views of Conservative Party members on Brexit, that a Brexiter will be elected in her place. The likely outcome of that, as far as Brexit is concerned, is either that nothing changes, or that the government attempts to persuade the EU to do the impossible.

“For example Theresa May is determined that we should leave the Single Market (SM) because her primary aim is to end Freedom of Movement (FM). Any successor is likely to want to leave the SM because they do not want to be bound by EU regulations on minimum workers rights or the environment.”

He went on to argue that a Brextremist prime minister would most likely want to do a trade deal with the United States, forcing us to accept weakened workers’ rights, weakened environmental regulations, weakened food standards (such as chlorine-washed chicken), a full metamorphosis of the NHS into a US-style healthcare system, and of course, absolutely no say at all in what the US does.

So a future Tory prime minister is likely to force the UK down a road that will (as Prof Wren-Lewis argued, and I accept his conclusion) make us all worse-off by at least £3,000 a year.

And today, moves to secure just such a prime minister have started. George Freeman, a former Tory minister, has said Mrs May should offer to resign after the withdrawal agreement is approved – to help persuade Conservative MPs to back her deal.*

The implication is that she would be replaced by a Brextremist who is more likely to support the views of other Brextremists, making Prof Wren-Lewis’s prediction more likely.

The Guardian stated, in reporting Mr Freeman’s call: “If the UK leaves the EU in the next few months, Brexit will not be over. Arguably it will just be starting, because the talks on the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU are expected to be longer and more acrimonious than the negotiations we have had so far. The UK’s ultimate aim is still, to a large extent, unresolved and there are some Tory Brexiters who want to know that someone more attuned to their way of thinking will be in charge.”

We can see that this may be factually accurate – although it doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Someone more attuned to their way of thinking” is likely to be someone who’ll tie us to the United States in perpetuity. It would be a way of getting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that was abandoned a couple of years ago after a popular protest, by another means – with all the adverse effects on the people of the UK that it entailed.

And we could end up with Michael Gove as prime minister. How do you fancy that?

*One aspect of this that I find disturbing is that Mr Freeman is not as Brextremist as some of his colleagues. He has advocated an EFTA-style Brexit, keeping us in the Single Market without tying us to EU free movement rules. His suggestion seems not to make sense, in the context of his own beliefs.


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Is this the kind of NHS hip replacement operation that Lord Carter thinks is too pricey?

Earlier today, Vox Political reported that Labour’s Lord Carter had claimed some hip operations were “costing more than double the amount that they should, with some expensive replacements not lasting as long as cheaper ones”.

A quick stroll through the Internet has now turned up an example of the kind of operation it is likely he meant – and, don’t be surprised, it’s by a private healthcare company.

The report is a few years old (from 2012) but there’s no reason to believe standards have improved at all. Here’s what the Daily Mail had to say about one person’s experience:

Mrs Collett had been sent to the Haslar Hospital in Portsmouth, under a contract agreed between the NHS and Netcare, a South African health company.

When she came round from the surgery, she was shocked to be told she’d suffered a third-degree burn to her foot, which was scorched almost to the bone.

But worse was to come. She was also in constant pain from her hip replacement.

Within two months, it dislocated twice.

Mrs Collett says a GP told her the prosthesis in her leg was too short and was also loose because insufficient cement had been used to fix it.

The Mail reckoned 17 per cent of hip replacements were being carried out privately in 2012. It seems doubtful that this number has fallen in the years since.

Private healthcare is now monitored by the Care Quality Commission – but that organisation has itself come under fire for failings of its own.

A report by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, dated August 2014, states very clearly that the NHS is gambling with patients’ health every time it passes them on to the private sector:

The same requirements to report incidents do not apply to private providers as they do to the NHS, which in itself makes it hard to monitor how safe or otherwise private services are. Information about clinical negligence claims against private providers are not publicly available, as they are in the NHS.

Patients themselves have fewer rights in the private sector. Whilst there is a general requirement to operate a complaints procedure, unlike the NHS complaints procedure, those used by private providers afford no statutory rights to the complainant and there is no recourse to the Health Service Ombudsman in the case of private care. There is no statutory requirement to provide for independent advice and support with complaints which is the case with the NHS. Consequently it is much harder to hold a private provider to account.

Even taking legal action for clinical negligence against a private provider is more problematic than with the NHS, where everything is overseen by the NHS Litigation Authority. A claimant against a private provider can be faced with complications over whether it is the hospital or the individual surgeon or sub-contractor who is liable.

All too often, in addition to the patient who is harmed through no fault of their own, it is the NHS which ends up picking up the pieces (and the tab) when things go wrong in private healthcare.

Worse still, the Conservative Government is clearly complicit in this failure of care:

Bizarrely, as recently as [2014] the Government passed the Care Act, which exempted providers of privately funded care from the new criminal offence for providing false or misleading information to the regulators. As if this could only happen in a publicly run service.

So, if you’re an NHS patient sent to a private hospital for a hip replacement, you could come out in worse condition than you went in, with very little ability to gain financial redress or even to have the mistake corrected – and this is the way the government wants it.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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