Another week, another drubbing for Andrew Lansley. Papers reported with glee the latest twist in the Health Bill soap opera with senior Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes apparently breaking ranks to call for the health secretary to be “moved on”.
The Daily Mirror piled on the misery, claiming “the potential devastation of Andrew Lansley’s hated health reforms” was laid bare in risk registers that had been obtained from five strategic health authorities. The documents “show NHS bosses have warned the shake-up will endanger patients, lead to staff cuts and do lasting damage to the reputation of the service,” reported the paper.
“One register – of the South Central Strategic Health Authority – said the reforms could lead to a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, where as many as 1,200 patients died because of appalling care.”
Monday’s Financial Times warned Mr Lansley risked further “inflaming his critics” thanks to an article that was first published on the HSJ website, in which he argued that the NHS had “nothing to fear from competition”.
But prime minister David Cameron threw his weight behind his embattled health secretary, using an article in the Sunday Times to declare he was “at one with Andrew Lansley” under the somewhat ominous headline: “It’s coming: the NHS you deserve.”
Finally, the Mail on Sunday asked questions about the role of international management consultants McKinsey, which was dubbed “the firm that hijacked the NHS” by the paper.
An investigation “based on hundreds of official documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act” revealed the firm’s “myriad links to the controversial reforms,” claimed the paper.
“Many of the bill’s proposals were drawn up by McKinsey and included in the legislation wholesale. One document says the firm used its privileged access to ‘share information’ with its corporate clients – which include the world’s biggest private hospital firms – which are now set to bid for health service work.”