Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Government suffers second conference defeat

The government was defeated for a second time today as delegates at the Labour party conference passed a motion condemning plans for further private investment in public health services.

A motion attacking the "breakneck speed of change" in the NHS was carried by a show of hands on the conference floor. The motion had been opposed by the Labour party's National Executive and Patricia Hewitt had attempted to have the motion revoked.

It is unclear how significant the result of this vote will be, but it comes on the back of Peter Hain's recent comments that he believed it necessarry to consider the limits of private involvement in the NHS. The closure of NHS Logistics in favour of the outscourcing arrangements with DHL has its critics. One major difficulty is that the DHL couriers are to deliver only as far as the front door of hospitals and not to distribute bulk deliveries any further. It had previously been NHS Logistics' responsibility to decant and deliver goods directly to the user. It may sound trivial but arrangements to ensure deliveries reach their intended recipients do not appear to have been considered. However, Patricia Hewitt claims the move will save the NHS £1 billion. Watch this space.

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