Letters Too late to stop the bill?

A question for Andrew Lansley

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1215 (Published 21 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1215
  1. Anton Emmanuel Joseph, retired consultant radiologist1
  1. 1Croydon University Hospital, Croydon CR7 7YE, UK
  1. aeajoseph{at}hotmail.com

May I ask the health secretary one question?1 Are you ignorant of the Health Act 1999 and the statement of clinical governance that was formulated so elegantly by Liam Donaldson? “Clinical governance is the framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.”

Isn’t this precisely what you are ducking away from in the present bill? In which case, you must be aware of what you are ducking out of.

Was it ignorance on your part when you wrote: “The NHS currently has no legal obligation to improve continuously the quality of care”? It is difficult to see how one who wrote this was ignorant of the other.

You claim that the ability to legislate for continuous improvement motivated your reforms. I hope you realise that legislation already exists. And did you know that it is your responsibility as it stands? I cannot see, if you do plead ignorance, how you can reconcile this with your position in government. You are not telling us the real motives behind your plans. You do a great disservice to the NHS.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1215


  • Competing interests: AEJ is interested in the preservation of the NHS.