"As we stand on the verge of possibly irreversible damage to one of the hallmarks of what it is to live in a civilised country, it is time to rise up and defend an institution that was built by our parents and our grandparents and which we owe to our children and our grandchildren to maintain and to pass on to them and to their guardianship"Professor John Ashton, Director of Public Health, Cumbria
And yet, while the government bullies staff and fights a desperate rearguard action against a demand by the Information Commissioner's Office that they release the national risk register - expected to detail the problems that may be caused by these reforms - they find time to stage manage a publicity stunt. Monday saw Cameron gather the Bill's remaining supporters - and those who remain prepared to engage with a government that abandoned listening for a bulldozer some while ago - for a summit at No 10. This involved around a dozen organisations and lasted an hour - meaning that it is unlikely that those attending were able to speak for more than two or three minutes each, as the Secretary of State and Prime Minister at least would have insisted on chattering for a while. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the increasingly long list of outright opponents was excluded in its entirety - cutting out the representatives of those apparently trusted to actually deliver the reforms, the GPs (amongst others). So much for no decision about me without me - that doesn't apply to our doctors.
Cameron has tied himself to the mast of these reforms and committed to them passing, come what may. That means he's now going to have every fault in the NHS laid squarely at his door. Dave - welcome to the third rail. Even if we haven't yet got to the bottom of events at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary last week, Cameron and Lansley can expect an increasingly rough ride. As the cuts start to bite into the NHS, no amount of spin and massaging of figures will help - the public will start to see the effect. Sadly, by then it may be too late.