Mellor shown up by his family's GP... but tells managers white paper proposals are open for debate... Scottish Labour MPs claim Tories stole their ideas... Nurses oppose regional pay
Health minister David Mellor's claim that his own family's doctors were keen to take up a practice budget was overstated, HSJ has discovered. Mr Mellor made the claim on the BBC's Today programme when faced with the results of a survey showing that only one in eight of the 400 practices surveyed wanted to become fundholders. Dr John Dymond, senior partner at the surgery attended by Mr Mellor's family, said the practice would not want to go ahead if only a small proportion of practices were prepared to volunteer.
Meanwhile, Mr Mellor told a managers' conference that the white paper proposals were open to debate. In comments which seemed in marked contrast to health secretary Kenneth Clarke's, he said the aim of Working for Patients was 'not to close off the options but to open up a debate'. He added: 'What has come out is a framework, but it is not a fully completed picture and was never intended to be.'
Scottish Labour MPs have accused the government of stealing some of the white paper proposals from Labour's own ideas for reforming the NHS. Sam Galbraith and Lewis Moonie, both doctors, describe the white paper as 'a false prescription and written by accountants', but claim that moves to monitor and improve quality of care were lifted from shadow health secretary Robin Cook's 'green paper' of last year.
Nurses at the Royal College of Nursing's annual congress voted overwhelmingly to oppose the spread of regional pay. The RCN's general secretary, Trevor Clay, said he did not think regional pay would help managers who had recruitment problems. 'If you increase salaries in order to recruit, what do you do when you have a glut - reduce pay?' he asked.