Aware of the growing concerns doctors have about yet another tranche of NHS reforms, Andrew Lansley has been desperately trying to get his grim message across as best he can. In recent weeks Dr Grumble has been unable to escape the Health Secretary who seems to be on both radio and TV at every opportunity. Hands-off Dave seems to be so worried that he has been trying to use his clout to bail out the hapless Health Secretary. It does not help that they have not really been honest with us. That creates suspicion.
There are a great many very reasonable concerns about Lansley's plans. Foremost in the minds of many would be why we need yet another reorganisation. We all know that, even if reorganisations work, there is usually a fall-off in performance before any improvement. And a lot of money is wasted on the reorganisation itself.
To create even more suspicion there is the perception that Andrew Lansley has been beavering away largely on his own with his misguided grand plan for the NHS. It certainly does rather seem to have been sprung on us all - including, perhaps, our prime minister. Given this background, it was not unreasonable for a specialist trainee to have asked Mr Lansley the following question:
In such times of financial austerity, why are you ring-fencing several billion pounds for yet more structural reform of the NHS?
To Dr Grumble it seems a perfectly reasonable question. It would have been quite possible for GPs to have been much more involved in commissioning without this level of upheaval. So what is the real purpose of such a costly change? While Dr Grumble does know the real purpose of the reorganisation, Mr Lansley's actual answer was something of a surprise. The interview is available only to doctors so presumably he knows that we, unlike most of the public, know what this is really about.
So here is Lansley's answer to what appears to Grumble to be a perfectly reasonable, innocent question without any side whatsoever:
Yeah, well, I can see where that question is from. It's called public good private bad and, um, you know, it's not quite like that actually....
So there you have it. In response to a question that was not in any way about privatisation but about the costs of the reorganisation, the cat is let out of the bag. Money is being set aside to privatise the NHS.
When it comes to privatisation of the NHS the ConDems, following New Labour's example, talk in riddles. The reason is that they don't actually want the public to know what this is all about. That's why the Lansley plans appear to have come out of the blue. They did not want the electorate to know what they had in mind until they had been elected - which is not very democratic really.
Dr Grumble has been aware of what all the parties have been planning for our NHS for years. At one time nobody believed him. Now it is too late to do anything about it.
Why don't politicians practise what they preach: no decision about us without us?
Interview given by Andrew Lansley to dnuk in November 2010