NHS

Kiran Stacey

David Cameron and Nick CleggSo the fighting is over, now comes the reconciliation. David Cameron’s concessions on the health bill – giving more leeway on GP-led commissioning and changing the role of the medical regulator (Monitor) so it is no longer purely to promote competition – have made the breakthrough. Nick Clegg is willing to support the proposals and is telling his parliamentary party exactly that now.

There will be a statement next Tuesday by the NHS Future Forum on their views on what should happen to the service, but Cameron’s speech has made that less relevant: he has made the key achievement of winning back the Lib Dems. The FF’s statement will be followed quickly by a ministerial statement and the coalition government will then take the reforms forward together.

The question now is whether each can take their own parties with them. The obvious problems will come at the Liberal Democrat end – Cameron’s repeated references to competition on Tuesday show he is not completely rejecting the Lansley reforms, even though some Lib Dems will settle for nothing less. Read more

Jim Pickard

It is hard not to conclude that Ed Miliband won the major clash of the day at PMQs* over the direction of NHS reform.

David Cameron cited today’s letter to the Telegraph from 42 GPs, saying they wanted what they called “evolution not revolution”.(They are all heads of recently-formed GPs’ consortia). Read more

Norman Lamb’s intervention on the NHS posed a tricky dilemma for Nick Clegg. In responding to the strong criticisms made by his closest aide, Clegg was likely to reveal his own thinking on how to fix NHS reforms.

Yet, if you read the papers today, you’ll see two very different interpretations of what Clegg wants. The clashing theories go something like this: Read more

Jim Pickard

Baffled and perplexed by plans to shake up NHS - Philip Stephens in the FT
Lansley is in a hurry and may lose control - Nick Timmins in the FT
I was always thinking straight unlike some colleagues - Mandelson serialisation continues in Times
Short jail sentences are pointless – David Cameron in Daily Mail
Many Tories hate David Cameron – Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome
Mark Hoban mulls tax on bank profits – FT

Kiran Stacey

Mandelson: Clegg killed off Brown – The Times
Plans for GPs to control up to £80bn of NHS funding –The Times
Budd sets out to repair OBR’s reputation – FT
Government puts extradition under scrutiny – FT
Pressure piled on Gove over schools errors – FT
Food Standards Agency to be abolished by health secretary – The Guardian
Probation watchdog: serious crimes may be price to pay for cutting cost of justice – Daily Telegraph
Cameron and Clegg promise to give power away – Daily Telegraph
Osborne’s cap on housing benefits will ‘drive poor families into ghettos’ – Independent

David Cameron is warning that every individual will be hit by the coming cuts. But don’t expect the pain to be spread fairly across all groups. If the coalition agreement is anything to go by, the elderly will be given a free ride at the expense of everyone else.

We’re in the midst of a fiscal crisis, but there is hardly a perk left for over 60s — the most wealthy section of society (see IFS chart) — that hasn’t been protected by the coalition. Read more