24/06/2013 Daily Politics


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Daily Politics. The Prime Minister says he's "deeply concerned" by


claims that a former undercover police officer was part of an


operation to smear the family of the murdered black teenager Stephen


Lawrence. Rob it's an extremely important issue for my local


community. To find out the police were withholding information, you do


so on the basis that you are trusting everyone... This was


necessary because of the failings back then. If the allegations are


true, it is really alarming. Having heard Jack Straw talk about this,


were officers really going to provide that information to either


himself, who at the time was the head of the police authority, or the


MacPherson enquiry. This special demonstration squad that this


undercover officer was part of was funded by the Home Office. They were


set up to investigate political activity. Why you would think the


family of the murdered teenager were political activists because they


were campaigning for justice for their dead son is beyond me, but


they were there to investigate political activity. Who sanctioned


it and who with they reporting to? We know that the former commissioner


said he knew nothing of them. If it was funded by the Home Office then


someone quite senior knew about it. I remember this very well. At the


time that the MacPherson report was first written and was about to be


published, lots of it was leaked from within the Home Office. It was


a real scandal at the time. That needs to be looked at again. What do


you want to hear from the Home Secretary? An independent public


enquiry. It cannot go through the IPC sea, but the IPCC will end up


with the police investigating the police. It will not be good enough.


Even -- either it is the MacPherson enquiry again, which I suspect can't


be the case, but the new enquiry needs to look at this. Do you agree


that the level of enquiry we need? do. It's very worrying. It can't be


done internally, unfortunately. Sadly, this happens with a lot of


public bodies, but particularly trusting the police is essential,


particularly where issues of race are concerned. An independent


enquiry is needed. What about reaction from the family? I'm due to


call the trust. My officers made arrangements for me to do that. I


will be speaking to them when I get off the air. I would imagine that


the family are saddened by the fact that their suspicions have been


proven to be true, because they were always suspicious about why the


police were asking about so many details. But also to find out that


the inquiry, which was such a milestone for race relations in this


country, is still being dragged into the gutter by the actions of


Metropolitan Police officers. This is people at senior level. Police


officers must be demoralised if this constantly keeps happening. But the


senior officers who made these decisions, we've got to hold them to


account. People are losing faith in the political process because they


see these people are very senior levels not paying the price for


being dishonest. They may not have been financially corrupt, but this


is a form of corruption, it deserves people to pay a heavy price. Any


organisation is capable of some way of being secretive. We have seen it


at the CQC. Embarrassing reports. People are fed up with this. It is


time when politicians set up enquiries, that these things come


with the full backing and the force of the law, so that people treat


them with respect. That they do not hide information in this way.


Clive Efford, thank you very much. Now let's have a look at the week


ahead: Tomorrow 1,000 members of the National Union of Teachers are


expected to descend on Westminster. Continuing their dispute over pay


and conditions. On Wednesday, the Chancellor takes


centre-stage when he outlines the Government's spending cuts for


15/16. On Thursday, Danny Alexander is outlining plans for


infrastructure and the Office of National Statistics will be


publishing quarrel figures for growth. So joining us from a cloudy


College Green are kem kep kem from the Times and Alliance & Leicester


from the myrrh. Norman Kember, the negotiations are over, and no blood


has been spilled, are you surprised. -- myrrh.


There has been surprise. Vince Cable has said that there has


been a fight over this. The key figure is to remember at this stage,


that this is presented in a harmonious deal. The Treasury looks


like they have acted efficiently and thoroughly. The real test comes on


Wednesday afternoon when George Osborne gives the details to the


House when the officials over Whitehall sit down to try to make it


work. Alliance & Leicester, I was looking


forward to seeing somebody sent to the star chamber but how painful


will the cuts be? -- James Lyons. There is no doubt that the cuts will


be difficult. They will be deep. They come after a string of other


austerity measures. We have seen ministers saying that they have cut


the fat. So precisely where they fall we don't quite know, but they


will genuinely hurt some people. One of the groups we know it will hurt


are the pensioners. The Chancellor was saying yesterday that free TV


licence, bus passes will be up for review after the next elections.


Pensioners could be feeling more of the pain than they recently have


been. And Labour have been looking at that


too, discussing their plans for ending universal benefits, but Billy


Kember, from the outside looking in, was it not as difficult to find the


�11. 5 billion cuts or wr were they even as much as that? We will not


know until we have seen the detail it is difficult to see what has been


cut as James said. We know that some departments have come in at lightly


under the 8 to 10%. So the Home Office have done well in that


respect and others like Eric Pickles and the local government departments


are up there at 10%. We will not know how bad it is. As James has


said, the fat has gone. So it is difficult to see where they can find


9 savings. What about George Osborne's . How


important is that? Well, he is clearly trying to stage something of


a comeback after the disastrous budget last year. What he has to


hope is that if thing things don't start to unravel again. I think that


all eyes are on Wimbledon this week. The Chancellor will want to hope to


play a few strokes of his own in setting out the review early. He


could have set it out next year. He has tried to force Labour's hand.


They are looking at the winter fuel allowance, but there is a feeling in


Labour it is making them face up to difficult choices and that is no bad


thing. James Lyons and Billy Kember, thank


you very much. Robert, it is high time to hear what


Labour are going to do in terms of cuts. They have now signed up to


George Osborne's plans? Well, Ed Miliband said he was worried that


people would start slapping the plans if they announced them too


early, but I find that difficult to listen to. The real problem is when


the cuts hit our society. I am concerned about teaching, for


example, about science. Both of which is are essential for the


health of the future of our society. I fear that we may be in for another


greater austerity still. I think that will be very, very


uncomfortable. Right. You mention education. Vince


Cable is battling over further education, but that is ring-fenced,


a little like health. Do you think it is time to look at the principle


of ring-fencing certain departments to make it a priority? I think that


the health service needs a different review from the one that Lansley


gave it. I think what he did was expensive. Once you start


contracting more into the private sector, the private sector charges


what it thinks that the market will hold, rather than the cost of


treatment. In the health service, a problem is that many treatments, if


not most, are not properly costed. We should look hard at the NHS.


What about pensions? That has been controversial, Ed Miliband's


announcement that they would include pensions in an overall cap on


welfare as pensions makes up a large proportion of it? To hold pensions


still is tricky at the present time. I think that some of the benefits to


pensioners should be looked at more carefully. I am not sure why I need


a free bus pass or a winter fuel benefit it is unreasonable for me to


have those sorts of benefits. So those sorts of things should be


looked at more. What about the Welfare Bill overall?


Do you think Labour must spell out more clearly? Yes, I do.What would


you like to hear them say? It is your party! They have to focus on


the key issues for our society. To see where we can stimulate growth.


One issue, certainly, I don't see George Osborne having a clear vision


of where the society is going. I don't see him having a vision of


where we will be in the future. Even though there are forecasts that


suggest modest growths. It is too little too late. Is is it right for


Ed Balls to admit he would borrow more in 2015/16, despite the fact


that he admits that debt is rising and the deficit is not coming down?


I said he should do that two years ago. I think that we all need to


borrow more. You need to get people working.


But can we afford it? If you have these projects going on, you will


increase the economy. Certainly there is no evidence we are doing


that at the moment. Thank you very much.


We will have the details of that Spending Review on Wednesday.


Now, would you want to access your own GP records online? In two years


you could be able to do that. Provided that the IT project


delivers it on time and it does not have the teething problems


associated with similar big Government projects. Here is David


with more. Computer servers, the machines that


these days make the world tick and could mean for the health service in


England the revolution will be digitised.


The idea is to use IT to revolutionise healthcare in England


it is called the power of information, it should do what it


says on the tin. Using data to give patients knowledge and chase and to


give the professionals speedy access to records so that treatment is


faster, better and more cost effective.


The idea is that information is as important to healthcare as drugs or


doctors or nurses. The idea is that far better transparency of


information on performance, on outcomes, it is going to be


transformational to the health service and to give rise to a range


of digital services where people can Skype their doctor, order


prescription refills and take better control of their health and well


being. Good, but the power of information is not just about being


open and transparent it is about saving NHS England lots of cash. In


the way that bajs have cut costs by dealing with customers online rather


than over the counter, but the officials were unable to confirm a


cost to the project. Will it deliver the promise of saving billions?


cost is lower than four years ago. We have seen in other systems how


cost effective this kind of people-led healthcare can really be.


So we anticipate and we are modelling savings to the NHS as a


whole. Every patient in England could have


access to GP medical records by 2015 and have health and social care


details across the internet by 2018. The NHS has not always hit it off,


but the creators believe that if this information is wired into the


system. It could be different. might have patients carrying their


own smartcards. It might have been a much better idea at the time. But


also the notion of patients getting in touch via Skype with their


doctor, would you do that? It's a slightly surreal idea but you never


know what might happen. Looking at basic IT projects, and we know the


scandals that have occurred in the past, do you think it can work? This


time the technology should be cheaper to deliver. There's a very


real reason for needing better computerisation of records. But we


know there are now sophisticated algorithms that show you can reduce


adverse effects of drugs and so on. The real issue is if you use


computing properly, you can input some of the knowledge we have from


genetic information. That is a big thing for the health service, but so


far we are not tackling that. know if there is a demand from


people to access their information online? What people want is a doctor


who will listen to them, sit there and not look at his watch, he will


be prepared to indulge in a proper conversation. IT will not substitute


for that. What about your bill that will be introduced on labelling


medicine, they've involved animal research in their development.


gone through its first reading. The idea is that every drug which has


been produced as a result of animal research should be labelled as such,


that the drug has been produced as a result of animal research. I want to


have much more transparency. I want people to recognise that animal


research is essential for human health, as it is for animal health.


It will be controversial. What reaction will you get? We will have


a lot of debate. I bet it will go to the House of Lords. I would be


surprised if it didn't go through the House of Lords will stop one of


the issues is whether or not the pharmaceutical industry can see the


benefits of their doing this. I hope they can. What consultation have you


had with them? I've had mixed messages from the people I've spoken


to. On a whole, most of the people are highly positive, because they


feel that this offers protection, recognising that this kind of


research properly done under human circumstances, is a very good way of


proceeding. But they don't want to be in the firing line of any


assaults or attacks. People have known for a long time that people


like myself have been doing animal research and humane conditions. I


think we should be right up there and upfront. If every university


that does research says this, it could be quite helpful. Top up fees.


They've become the norm when it comes to paying for university


education. But could we soon be forking out for our NHS treatment as


well? Senior doctors will use today's British Medical Association


annual meeting to warn that a health care system free at the point of use


can no longer be sustained. So what are they proposing? Well, surgeons,


consultants and GPs want the government to draw up a list of core


services so that patients know what they can expect for free from the


NHS. But the BMA are arguing that treatments and medications outside


this list can no longer be ruled out. Doctors say that the pressure


of making �20 billion in efficiency savings by 2015, combined with


rising patient expectations and increasingly expensive medical


treatments mean the NHS is at crunch point. Currently payment for


dentistry is widespread, and eye tests and prescriptions are


means-tested, while many health trusts have refused to fund weight


loss surgery. But many critics argue top-up charges are contrary to the


ethos of the NHS and could start a slippery slope to privatisation


through the back door. I'm joined now by the Deputy Chair of the BMA's


GP Committee, Dr Richard Vautney, who is at the conference in


Edinburgh. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Is this, our top-up fees


really the future for the NHS? don't believe so. I'm sure that


doctors he will not support that. What doctors are saying is that


politicians are very good at promising lots of things, but not


very good in providing us with the resources to do it. We want the


resources to provide the highest quality care to our patients, and


yet GPs and doctors in hospitals are regularly being told they have to


work harder and longer to provide potentially routine services on a


Saturday and Sunday or on an evening, which could potentially


damage the services we already provide during the working day. We


need to be very clear what the NHS can afford to provide and how good


it needs to be doing that. What in your mind can the NHS in its current


financial situation afford to provide? What are the core services


that you feel must be retained? think everyone would expect to be


able to walk into their general practitioner and be able to get


every service that they get today. And to get the level of care that


they get in their hospitals as well. They do get that urgently, 20 47.


Doctors are working day and night, both in hospitals and out of hours,


to provide good levels of service. But we do need to question things


like cosmetic surgery, whether that is something that can be provided on


the NHS. Whether Barrack is brain surgery is appropriate on the NHS.


What we've seen in recent years is a covert rationing happening invites #


various Primary Care Trusts up and down the country, where in some


areas you can get those services but since America is you can't. We need


an honest debate about those services. You've raised the idea


that those perhaps should be paid for. You've mentioned cosmetic


surgery. What about hair transplants, weight loss surgery -


should be charged? That's why we need to have an debate. What do you


believe? That is something that will be debated. It is one of the


challengers. When you start to look at individual elements, you will


have people who will make a case for that particular service to be


provided. It's important we do that openly and honestly. What is your


response to that? I'm a member of the BMA and his answer is typical of


the BMA. It's all very well to say that varicose vein surgery shouldn't


be on the NHS. They cause significant discomfort and dangerous


to patients. By removing them, you can do something which should be


under the NHS. But there are ways we ought to be looking at the NHS in a


completely different view. For example, to some extent humans don't


value what they don't pay for. I remember my clinic, which was one of


the most popular clinics at Hammersmith Hospital. I still had 15


to 20% of my patients not turning up from the local area because it was


inconvenient, not even that the appointment was made well in


advance. That is shopping. people should be charged. 200 quid a


time is what it cost. What do you think, should people be charged if


they missed GP appointments or hospital appointments? The people


who could be charged could well be the people who could least afford


it. You would end up with an exemption system that would be more


complex and bureaucratic to impose. Whilst the theory may be worth


looking at, the practicalities would make it too expensive. It could


maybe not be the thing to look at. The key thing is to focus on how we


can ensure that the quality of services that we are currently


providing properly resourced, without trying to extend them into


evenings or weekends. I have to say that I did the research on the


patients who didn't turn up. The patients who didn't turn up were


often the most well-heeled patients. The patients who came from poor


backgrounds and depressed areas kept their appointment is much more


regularly. Can I clarify the premise that the NHS can no longer provide


everything for free at a high-quality, it's no longer viable,


is it? I don't know. The question is whether the structure as it is is


right. We talk about increasing privatisation, but increasing


privatisation happened as soon as Lansley introduced his bill and once


that act went through Parliament. That's a very big cost to the health


service. That happened under Labour, too, about some services


being provided from private companies as opposed to people


paying when the NHS is supposed to be free at the point of use. My view


is not a political view entirely. There's a big difference between the


two governments, but you are right, Labour did introduce something and


didn't change their idea, which I think was a mistake. You may be


having a very honest debate about what is viable to be provided by the


NHS in the future, but do you believe, whatever you decide, that


any politician and any government would make a decision to start


charging for cosmetic surgery, IVF, breast reduction and enlargement?


don't think they would do that openly but the reality is that for


the last five to ten years, that has been happening. Primary Care Trusts,


on the behest of the Department of Health, have been making these


decisions and have been limiting what is available in particular


areas. And it saves very little money. It does, but we do need to


ensure that everybody gets fair treatment wherever they live, there


shouldn't be postcode rationing. should think that Matthew think it


should be clear across the board. You don't think it saves much money?


We are in broad agreement. The problem is that any of these


measures don't save the sort of money we need to save if we are


going to make the NHS more efficient. The question is how we


funded on the wider scale. That is a much bigger problem. I agree with


Lord Winston on that. Particularly I agree with him with his concerns


about the cost of the competition agenda, which this government and


the last government have pursued. To have a competition and market, you


need to have surplus supply. That in itself is an expensive commodity


that we can ill afford. Before you go, let's have a look at the Care


Quality Commission and the scandal that has been revealed about that


report. Do you think an overhaul of the CQC is appropriate for now?


think they need, whoever is regulating the health service, need


the resources to be able to do it properly. One of the challengers for


the CQC is that they were brought together from various other


organisations, they were given an almost impossible task to do. What


we've seen is how difficult that task has been and the shocking


stories we've seen from both mid Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay and


elsewhere. It shows we do need a body who can ask the right questions


and get the right answers. Whoever is doing that needs the resources to


be able to do that properly. I can't quite tell if that's a yes or no to


an overhaul. I agree completely. That was debated during the passage


of the health act. But we don't have that in place yet. We need to look


at it carefully, looking at the CQC. And whether it should be completely


overhauled. Thank you for joining us. And the special thank you to


Robert Winston for being our guest of the day. That is it for today. I


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