Wednesday, 25 April 2007

On the record

I have decided to sift through Hansard from the MMC debate yesterday and summarise the most important quotes which must not be forgotten. There are some rather revealing admissions and statements, and the exposure must be exploited if the 'patient safety danger' MMC is to be stopped:

Patricia Hewitt 'Those problems should not have arisen'

Quite right for once. They should not have.

Hewitt 'we have a system for this year that is fair to junior doctors and enables the NHS to make the right appointments to all the posts involved.'

We overtly do not, hence the legal challenge is essential.

Hewitt 'The first part of the new system—the two-year foundation programme—was successfully introduced in 2005.'

This is contentious. There are so many problems with Foundation training and many trainees are very unhappy with the quality of their training.

Hewitt 'The applications system has actually been working well in many places, particularly for GP posts.'

This is pretty much a lie. It has worked better for GP posts than for non-GP posts, but 'well' is a generous lie.

Hewitt 'They will still, however, have their job.'

She claimed there will be no unemployed doctors.

Hewitt 'Each hospital trust, and the board of each trust, has a responsibility to its patients to ensure that on 1 August, or any other day, the right number of the right staff are available to provide safe, high quality care.'

She tried to preempt a crisis and pin blame locally for the inevitable crisis on change over day in August.

Hewitt 'The issue of the changeover date is nothing new.'

In fact it is. Change over on this scale has never happened before in the NHS.

Hewitt 'That is why the headlines about 10,000 unemployed or redundant doctors are simply wrong.'

She again denied the unemployment issue.

Hewitt 'I stress once again that it will be completely independent'

When talking of the independent review she claims it will be completely independent.

Normal Lamb 'The royal college described the system as “deeply flawed, and unpiloted”—it had specifically requested that the system be piloted.'

So much for the cooperation with the colleges.

Rob Harris 'I wrote last autumn expressing concern about the system and I was assured by the then Health Minister, Lord Warner, that it would be all right on the night.'

No one has been disciplined for this clear failing.

Evan Harris 'The Minister must explain whether medical schools were expanded in order to fill an expanded consultant grade, or whether they were expanded in order to fill trust-grades, clinical fellowships and staff-grades—all non-training posts, which many people do not want to occupy even though they are in such posts? Does he expect that the consultant expansion we need will take place? In 1997, a British Medical Journal editorial noted that “consultant expansion was insufficient.” That editorial was written by a Dr. Evan Harris, but 10 years on, I see that there is still no expansion—'

This is a key point indeed. An answer must be sought on this.

Several members of parliament pointed out that the member of Tooke's review panel had not been named, this is something that needs to be probed vigorously.

Andrew Murrison repeated two of Patricia Hewitt's earlier comments in the house:

"On 19 March, the Health Secretary said that

    “shroud-waving about unemployed doctors is absurd”—[ Official Report, 19 March 2007; Vol. 458, c. 582.]

On 16 April, we had more assurances from the Secretary of State when she said that she wanted to take

    “the opportunity to refer to the thoroughly misleading statements made in recent weeks about the prospect of thousands of junior doctors finding themselves without work. This is complete nonsense.”—[ Official Report, 16 April 2007; Vol. 459, c. 46.] "

She must be held to account over this.

Andy Burnham 'One of the interesting things about today’s debate was the degree of agreement on both sides of the House, expressed by almost every Member who spoke, about the principles behind MMC'

I would amend this to the 'claimed' principles behind MMC, as FOI requests have been stone walled as regards the real motives hiding behind a smokescreen of noble principles.

Andy Burnham 'The difference between us and some Opposition Members is that they suggest that all the measures were hatched in secrecy in the Department of Health and that we did not involve anybody else in drawing up plans for this stage of the implementation of the MMC programme. That is not the case'

He claims the measures were not hatched in secret, why are certain MMC FOI requests being with held then?

Andy 'the comedian' Burnham 'The difference is that those unharnesses were not out in the open, in the transparent way that they are now— [ Laughter. ]'

That was funny.

Andy Burnham '
The hon. Member for North Norfolk spoke about the lack of a pilot for the scheme. In fact, the electronic portal for foundation recruitment was piloted in 2006. The application form was based on an existing form used in the London area, and the current form was piloted pre-launch in at least two deaneries. At the end of the day, we can review the programme and consider whether there was enough piloting and I shall take on board the conclusions of the review. However, it is not the case that the scheme was rushed through with no attempt to consult or to pilot.'

This will need to be probed in detail. I sense some forthcoming ferreting on this.

Andy Burnham 'Those unsuccessful this year will be able to reapply next year.'

This must be respected.

Overall there is a great deal to take away from the day, there was little chance of winning the vote given Labour's contempt for democracy. There are several key points that must be pursued:

1. Andy Burnham has claimed MMC was not hatched secretly.
2. HMG has claimed there will be NO unemployed junior doctors.
3. Andy Burnham has claimed MTAS was properly piloted.
4. Evan Harris got NO answer to his question about the motives behind increasing doctor numbers.
5. No one has been held to account for the mess including several examples of ignoring valid warnings.
6. John Tooke's review panel is claimed to be completely independent.
7. Every unsuccessful candidate will be able to reapply next year.
8. The potential for mishaps on change over day were ignored by the government and dishonestly described as 'nothing new'.
9. HMG claims Foundation training is a success.

If I have missed anything then please leave a comment and I can add it in. I just hope this important day can be adequately capitalised upon.


Unknown said...

I suppose as a ferret fan you want there to be a contest in the Labour Party for leadership. The squabble with be like a good ferret fight.

Hansard fisking quite brilliant

Anonymous said...

I have put the text up on a Wiki so that comments can be made in place for the entire text. Care to add to it?

The previous debates are on there as well.

Garth Marenghi said...

I would not dare compare lovely ferrets to the more evil weasel like MPs that would contest for the Labour party leadership,
tongue in cheek,