When is a U-turn not a U-turn? When the policy being revised belongs to the previous government, argues Tory health minister Simon Burns, not without reason.
Nevertheless, reports that the coalition is scrapping the last government’s plan to ban hospitals from charging patients for parking were met with the familiar cry. The Sunday Telegraph suggested the move was a way of passing the buck to hospitals, who must now take responsibility for unpopular charging.
According to The Times, Mr Burns said he never liked the plan and had long been “unconvinced that Labour’s car parking idea was properly funded and practical”.
Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciarán Devane hit back at the coalition in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, labelling the change as an “unjust tax on illness” and a “huge burden for cancer patients who typically make 53 trips to hospital during treatment”. While the DH seems to have reneged on former health secretary Andy Burnham’s parking plan, his successor Andrew Lansley has written to Mr Burnham denying he is closing the NHS Direct phone line.
The Guardian chose the term “backtrack” to describe this change of heart as Mr Lansley pointed out that he has only announced that he is to “phase out” the number. Not before a “save NHS Direct” campaign was well underway, gaining more than 16,000 signatories to its petition.
On Monday, The Times reported British Orthopaedic Association president Michael Bell wants trainee surgeons to spend time in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. To escape the tyranny of the rigid EU working time directive, which prevents trainees from working more than 48 hours in a week, Mr Bell wants to establish a “trauma fellowship” to send them to a war zone for six weeks.