Calm down dear....
Posted Thursday, 28 April 2011 at 10:16
I will be on the Jeremy Vine show at 1pm to discuss the throw away comment made by David Cameron at PMQ's yesterday.
The fuss that the Labour party are kicking up over this has a strong whiff of desperation about it and they all, each and every one of them, really do need to calm down....
Posted Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 16:44
For anyone who cares to know, blogger, Tim Ireland, who chooses to write blogs which are malicious, un-founded and for the most part totally untrue, has been warned by Police not to enter Bedfordshire.
However, this doesn't stop him from wasting tax payers money via freedom of information requests and then letters of complaint to the information commissioner when they don't work. Stopping that comes next! My poor staff :(
John Guthrie – the new Mayor for Bedford?
Posted Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 16:21
It’s good to be back at my desk in Parliament after a two week break during which I hit the campaign trail with local councillors and John Guthrie, the Mayoral candidate for Bedford.
Given the response on the doorstep, I would be very surprised indeed if John isn’t elected with a sizable majority. John has made education his No1 priority, a subject he is passionate about and clearly understands extremely well.
It really is time Bedford had a Mayor who has both a vision and the ability to make that vision a reality. John will get things done and after five years, people will look back and realise how badly Bedford has been neglected in the past by Mayors who could talk the talk, but never walked the walk.
In my own words please..
Posted Saturday, 9 April 2011 at 11:20
Another left wing pro-choice web site has today launched another ‘conspiracy theory’ attack on the Dorries Field amendments, only this one is worth highlighting for a couple of reasons.
The blog post is written by Darinka Aleksic, who is the campaign co-ordinator of Abortion Rights, the union funded, national pro-choice campaign for the UK. As someone who is neither pro-choice nor pro-life, I do not deny or condemn Darinka’s right to campaign for her own belief; however, it is only right that in doing so, she should be entirely honest and transparent with regard to those beliefs.
The most alarming sentence in Darinka’s post when discussing the use of language is this one ‘ Later term abortion in the US? Re-christened ‘partial-birth abortion’ and promptly banned’
You will gather from the above that the Union funded Darinka is a fan of partial birth abortion. I say this because she obviously objects to the highly accurate description of the procedure. Not sure what a PBA is? Well here is a video explanation, made by a pro-life Doctor. I have used a video which explains using a doll, rather than anything more graphic and I’m afraid that even this is difficult to watch. If you object to watching a description given by a pro-life Dr, there are others available on the web.
This is the problem with pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life want abortion banned entirely and pro-choice would like to go all the way to partial birth abortion. There is no place for either position in today’s society.
Darinka’s own conspiracy theory, is to credit my ‘language’ to that of the pro-life movement in the US. She states, ‘Anti-choice campaigners aren’t stupid. They know from the experience of their American counterparts that hardline anti-abortion measures couched in moderate language have greater resonance with the public.’
Last week Frank and I, to the horror of the pro-life movement, laid down an EDM to campaign for the morning after pill to be free. If the scope of the bill had allowed it, we would have laid it down as an amendment to the bill. If the rising rate of teenage pregnancy isn’t a concern to any government, it is to us. I am not quite sure what about that measure is ‘hardline anti-abortion’. I am also not quite sure how she thinks, that as a busy constituency MP, I have time to conduct an in depth study of the American pro-life movement when I can hardly keep up with the UK!
She then goes on to state
But the boring fact of the matter is that none of this is actually true. Informed consent from the patient is required before any medical procedure, including abortion, can be carried out. Clinicians are required to discuss all potential risks and complications, both physical and psychological. Abortion in the UK is already thoroughly regulated – let’s not forget, it’s the only procedure that requires the permission of two doctors before it can go ahead
Darinka does herself an injustice here. The conversation which is required before the consent form is completed does not include any discussion regarding mental health. It involves the possible risk of having a general anesthetic, if one is used, the fact that there will be a small amount of pain following lasting around 48hrs and bleeding for between 5 – 10 days. The forms sit in the abortion clinic office for weeks waiting for the second Dr’s signature and it is quite often photocopied on, much later. That is the sum total of the informed consent conversation.
I apologise to those who are fed up reading about my position on abortion. I will not allow either pro-life or pro-choice to put me into each other’s camp.
I am in my camp, with Frank for company. That camp is pro-women. It is the middle, sensible, common sense ground and it’s where I am staying. It is also where change will happen. Pro-choice and pro-life can continue to battle each other. We will get on with the job and battle for sensible change.
Dr Peter Saunders..
Posted Friday, 8 April 2011 at 16:52
I have been alerted to an incredible conspiracy theory which is appearing on some left wing blogs linking me to a presentation given by Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, which I have never seen, but is apparently free to view on his own web site. I know of Peter, he is a very gentle, committed Christian with an incredible depth of knowledge of the abortion industry. I hold him in high regard. He is often on the Today programme and appears on TV and radio with regard to all life issues. I listen to and respect his views, many things we agree on, many we don't. However, his views are his alone and certainly aren't mine.
here is a link to his very informative blog http://pjsaunders.blogspot.com/
Because he is a Christian, that doesn't make his views on abortion irrelevant - the same applies to a strident feminist. I have talked to and worked with a number of Muslim and Jewish faith leaders on this issue and people of no faith.
I think some of the left wing blog writers need to find a dark room and lie down!
Penny to paper..
Posted Friday, 8 April 2011 at 15:14
Following the tabling of our amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill, Frank Field and I have been under predictable attack via the notoriously inaccurate medium of the internet, by both the pro-life and pro-choice lobbies.
The global pro-life news site, LifeSiteNews, contains a full on attack from Anthony Ozimic, communications director for SPUC (Society for Protection of the Unborn Child).
He describes our amendment as thus “The amendments are weak and ethically problematic. Although they seek to rectify deplorable facets of the British abortion industry, they are simply not adequate to do so.” The amendment was drawn up by a Parliamentary draftsman with the assistance of a legal academic and approved by a QC. Hardly weak. The ‘ethically problematic’ baffles me.
He is right, in as much as there are deplorable facts apropos the abortion industry, however, Frank and I are aiming to achieve two very simple objectives a) to reduce post abortion distress and b) lower the overall number of abortions from 189,000 per year, without in any way restricting access to abortion.
Our amendment seeks to make provision for a woman presenting with an unplanned pregnancy to be offered counselling via her GP. At the present time, it can only be requested and paid for via the abortion provider. We think that presents a vested interest. If the woman doesn’t want it, she simply says no and proceeds to abortion. It takes time to arrange an abortion and if she wants to accept counselling she can receive it immediately, in the GP practice, or in her own home, before she sets foot over the threshold of the abortion provider.
Many women will have made up their mind and decline the offer, however, to those who are confused and distressed, it may offer a lifeline and if those women do proceed to abortion, they do so empowered knowing help is at hand when they return home helping to negate any post abortion distress, now or in later life.
A very simple amendment with very simple objectives. The counselling is non compulsory and is simply an offer of help, via the GP, should it be required.
He continues..The MPs sponsoring these amendments Nadine Dorries and Frank Field, “are not anti-abortion themselves.” Well, he’s got something right I suppose. Frank and I have just laid down an EDM requesting that the government make the morning after pill free, rather than the £25 which is charged now. We see this as an alternative means to achieve both objectives.
“Such campaigns may give these MPs a profile in the tabloid press, but they won’t help protect unborn children from abortion,”. He obviously hasn’t noticed, profile isn’t exactly something either Frank or I struggle for and is something at least one of us, would like a little less of. There’s more..
“Nadine Dorries, who has been labelled in the media as “pro-life,” describes herself as “pro-woman” and is on record as supporting legal abortion and even of liberalizing restrictions on earlier abortions. Frank Field last week tabled a motion backing free provision of morning-after pills in pharmacies”. Actually, it was Frank and I together, so wrong again.
And here is the nub of his nervousness..
Pro-life campaigners, however, have repeatedly warned that the last time more restrictions were attempted; the concession was gained at the expense of protections for unborn disabled people. In 1990 when the 1967 Abortion Act was amended to lower the gestational age limit for abortion from 28 to 24 weeks, political support was only obtained by allowing children diagnosed with possible disabilities to be legally killed in utero up to the time of full gestation.
What happened in 1990 was a disaster and as a result children with the most minor disabilities, such as club foot, are aborted up to birth. Look at Parliament, and wonder how on earth a law like that was passed?
He then goes on to criticise our second amendment, which is to transfer the responsibility for drawing up the guidelines surrounding the care of a woman seeking an induced termination from the unelected and largely unaccountable, RCOG to NICE, which via the Secretary of State is accountable to Parliament. On this he states..
Ozimic warned against allowing the NICE to decide abortion practice guidelines. “The NICE has a record of appointing anti-life experts to deal with abortion-related issues,” he said
If NICE ever had or did, something would have been done about it because in Parliament today, that would have been exposed.
The second article is by Laurie Penny at the New Statesman, however, I am leaving Frank to un-pick that one via a right to reply in the New Statesman. However, rarely have I read an article so badly researched, poor in content and consisting of such blatant scaremongering and misrepresentation of our position, that one realises, it may have been extremely useful if the editor had read the amendment -before he put Penny to paper.
NHS reforms..Speak like what I do
Posted Wednesday, 6 April 2011 at 11:43
And so, NHS reforms hit the buffers with speculation in the press that we may not hit the April 2013 deadline for D day, which frankly should be complete nonsense.
The only failing of the Health and Social Care Bill, is that no one has explained to anyone outside of the Department of Health, how the bill will transfer power straight from the hands of managers, into those of the patient, overnight.
Many Conservative MPs, me included, are passionate about the reforms and will be slightly less than pleased should they begin to be watered down. I am personally delighted that we are continuing the process introduced by Labour, to allow even more NHS services to be contracted out to the private sector. If the private sector can offer the best quality service at the right tariff, why should patients be subjected to an inferior service for the sake of a mis-placed political ideology? If the private sector isn’t allowed to ‘cherry pick’ the services they provide, why not?
I hope that over the next few weeks we will begin to see a transformation in how the NHS reform message is communicated. The job so far has been woeful with journalists writing what at times has amounted to pure nonsense. I particularly refer to the recent comment in the press that at the recent meeting of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, Cameron suffered at the hands of backbenchers with regard to the NHS reforms. This was completely untrue. He was asked one question by one MP urging reassurance that he would NOT back down from the reforms.
Communication is the key to the success of this bill, that and those at the top having the courage to face down the prophets of doom in a language everyone understands.
Yesterday, one commentator remarked, that in the age of the soundbite, that’s not possible. That may be true, however, as someone who explains these reforms to almost everyone I meet, below are two humble examples of how to remove the scales from the eyes of those who have become confused by all they have read and heard in the media.
I have morphed together about a dozen constituent’s into one and given him a name, Jack. However, he is heavily modelled upon a favourite constituent of mine in Barton le Clay.
Jack... I’m a bit worried about everything I am reading in the press about the NHS. I need new tablets soon; will I still be able to get them?
Me.... Jack, the reason why you had such a problem getting these tablets in the first place was because your GP didn’t have the authority to buy them for you. He had to ask the PCT and they said no
Jack... The computer said no..
Me.. Exactly, and that was difficult for us because they had the money and did all the buying, your GP had no say whatsoever. With these reforms, your GP is given the purse; he has the budget and the money. You can go and look your GP straight in the eye when it’s time for the next step in your treatment and if he says no, you ask him why. And if he says there’s no money, we can ask to see his accounts and prove to you that there’s no money, but do you know what Jack, that isn’t going to happen. Your GP will know who needs what and he will want to keep his patients happy. Not much fun for him if patients come in and moan at him all day and that’s the main difference Jack, the power that used to be in the hands of the managers and the computer in the PCT will now, via your GP, land in your hands and you will have far more clout than you ever had before.
Jack... Sounds too good to be true. What about the test my wife is going to have to go to the hospital for. How would that work?
Me.... Well, if your GP is smart, she won’t have to go to the hospital. Your wife needs a sigmoidoscopy. There are a number of private companies who employ trained sigmoid technicians; many are former highly qualified nurses. They spend their entire day specialising in sigmoidoscopy and do them over and over again, unlike the hospital doctor who does a few each month. So, hopefully, your GP will negotiate a contract with one of these private companies and they will come to the surgery every week and scope whichever patients need to be done that week and presto, scope and results all in one day, with no journey to the hospital. And you will know that the very latest technology and equipment has been used. If the scope does detect something worrying, she can be reffered quickly, straight to the hospital for treatment. The whole process will be much quicker.
Jack... Still sounds too good to be true. The wife would tell everyone she’s been done private though. She would like it.
Now, I know the above sounds simplistic to those who love to speak in the language of the civil service, but I’m afraid that if you don’t start talking like normal people do soon, no one is going to have a clue what this bill is about and the chances of it passing will become harder by the day. This bill affects 65million people. They don’t all live in Westminster village. It’s time to remember that.
You can see it from space...
Posted Monday, 4 April 2011 at 12:03
This interesting article appears on Conservative Home today and highlights the fact that David Cameron is to take responsibility for selling health reform.
As an absolute fan of the proposed health reforms, the fact that the Department of Health appeared to be talking to itself and had forgotten to engage
health care professionals, staff and the general public has been a huge concern to me for some time.
So much so, that I brought it up during the Health Select Committee last week and the transcript is posted below.
The answer just isn’t good enough and is very ‘departmental’.
I for one am delighted that the PM is taking charge of letting the nation know how the reforms are going to bring huge patient benefits. The provision of a ‘pathfinders’ web site is a woeful way for any department to expect to communicate health reforms which the NHS, CEO, described as being so big, you could see them from space.
Q493 Nadine Dorries: This is one of the problems with the Bill, Secretary of State. You know of those examples because of your role and your Department knows of those examples. But the question I am frequently asked by GPs is, "How does that work?" If I had a criticism of the Department in this Bill, my main criticism would be that you have not communicated very well these examples which you and your Department know about but GPs and their consortia don’t always know about. I had a conversation this weekend with a group of GPs. They can’t quite see the way through how some of it is going to work because it hasn’t been communicated to them terribly well.
Mr Lansley: It is a fair point. From our point of view, in a sense, the debate about how it is supposed to work is happening before we had expected to have created the learning network that shared precisely how people were putting these things together. In a way, when we started out, in March 2011 we expected there to be a small number of pathfinder consortia who were beginning to shape this. In fact, we have 177.
Nadine Dorries: A victim of your own success.
Mr Lansley: There is a tendency to expect the Department of Health to produce a document that tells them how to do it. The answer is that we are creating much more of what we think of as a learning network, the purpose of which is that they shape how this works.
Q494 Chris Skidmore: How is that learning network progressing so far? Is it internet advice and various officials giving advice on the phone?
Dame Barbara Hakin: Yes. The pathfinder network has taken off. We have 177 pathfinders. There is a range of things that are going on, but the key one that holds it together is the pathfinder network and website, which is growing in terms of its technical ability and its content by the day. We are very early-
Q495 Chris Skidmore: Do you have any data for how many people have logged on or clicked on to it yet?
Dame Barbara Hakin: I haven’t at the moment, but I would be happy to get you that.
Q496 Nadine Dorries: Is that just for GPs to use or is that for everybody to access, all health care workers? Who has access to that website?
Dame Barbara Hakin: Anybody could have access to the website. It is predominantly designed for pathfinders, but the pathfinders don’t have to say, "Only our GPs can log on to the website." Some areas of the website are open to anyone because we want the consortia who are not already pathfinders to be able to use and access it. I won’t pretend for one minute that that site is as we would want it to be. It is a relatively short space of time since the Bill was introduced and the enthusiasm and response is helping us create the website. Of course, to some extent, most learning comes from each other. It isn’t about what we know in the Department. For us, the key is creating the linkages.
Posted Friday, 1 April 2011 at 23:00
I think it is ok for me to say that last week I stood down from the Health Select Committee.
This is because I have been invited by the Speaker to sit on the Chairman's Panel.
I will be chairing Westminster Hall debates, Public Bill Committees, and on occasion, the chair acts as a temporary chairman of the whole House. I think you need a few years under your belt to reach that level though!
I shall certainly relish the very first time I shout 'order order'. This is because for years, as a mother, I have been hysterically shouting words which have the same meaning and purpose, to just a handful of rowdy house inhabitants at a volume of around 140 decibels, but to no avail. When in full shouting throttle, I have seen medieval characters painted in pictures hung on my walls cover their ears and wince.
Yes , it will give me the hugest pleasure to shout 'order order' and to be obeyed... for the very first time, ever.