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NHS Reforms Lead Govt. to Car Crash

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TEHRAN, April 12 (ICANA) – A senior advisor to UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned to quit, as the National Health Service (NHS) reforms appear to cause a major rift in the government.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:24:02 AM
NHS Reforms Lead Govt. to Car Crash

"I've said that if it's impossible for me to carry on in my position I will step down. I don't want to cause embarrassment but I feel very strongly about this issue [the NHS reform]," Clegg's chief political advisor Norman Lamb told the state-funded BBC's Politics Show.

Lamb, who is viewed a Liberal Democrat parliamentary whip, implied that if Conservatives do not take into account Lib Dem concerns about the NHS spending cuts proposal, they will not vote in favor of the Health and Social Care Bill.

"This package is not going to work unless we can get people on board and that includes addressing the concerns that I've raised," he said.

Lamb said in order to "address" their concerns, the government should phase in its NHS reforms through “evolution, not revolution” by abandoning a 2013 deadline, allow general practitioners to voluntarily join the consortia in charge of running NHS services and keep a number of Primary Care Trusts for the “performance management” of GPs.

Based on the proposed NHS shakeup, the government would devolve the duty of England's 10 Strategic Health Authorities and 152 Primary Care Trusts to new local GP-led commissioning consortia and a national NHS Commissioning Board.

Lamb also wrote in an article published in the Independent that the government needs to “empower GPs to develop services to help keep patients out of hospital” but warned that "there is a real risk we could put that objective at risk if we get the reforms wrong.”

“We are attempting reorganization in a tight timescale at the same time as trying to achieve a four percent efficiency saving every year," he said.

Many of the new GP consortia will manage this challenge, but the concern is that others will not. The consequences would not be pretty,” the advisor cautioned.

As the party whip, Lamb's duty is to ensure the differences between coalition partners over issues of mutual interest do not leak to the media, however, his own appearance on a TV political show and his article point to the fact that the fears over the NHS reforms is driving a wedge in the coalition.

Lamb has reportedly said that “the row over tuition fees will be nothing compared to this one if we get it wrong” warning insistence on the plans will lead the government to “a car crash”.

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