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NHS Risks Silenced

by | Wednesday, 9th May 2012
The government has once again refused to publish the official assessment of the risks involved in the government's NHS shakeup, contrary to Law.

Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, said in his statement:

This is not a step I have taken lightly. I am a firm believer in greater transparency and this government and this department have done far more than our predecessors in publishing information about the performance and results of our policies. But there also needs to be a safe space where officials are able to give ministers full and frank advice in developing policies and programmes.

This government is sliding increasingly towards a secretly controlled state, where elites and their servants are able to make decisions behind closed doors without the public knowing.

The governments laughable admission that it is the most transparent government ever is shocking. This government uses a show and tell tactic: show us everything, but tell us nothing, which is best illustrated by their poor attempt to disclose government expenses, which was deliberately broadened to hide the details.

If there are risks involved in NHS reform, civil servants are duty bound to tell the public.

However, the most shocking aspect of all this is the blatant disregard for the rule of law. The government has already lost two legal battles in which they have been ordered to publish the risks.

Commenting on this, Lansley said:

The choice to use the veto rather than appeal the decision to publish the risk register was made because the secretary of state and the cabinet views this as an exceptional case where there is a fundamental disagreement on where the public interest lies in relation to the disclosure of the risk register.

Surely, if there is such a disagreement, the only course of action would be to publish the risks and move for a referendum. That would be the democratic approach. That the government has not done this, shows that they are neither democratic, constitutional, or even lawful. Using a Veto, the government has simply highlighted the fact that they have no standing in Law.

The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, condemned the decision by accusing the cabinet of showing a flagrant disregard for the law of the land.

He said:

David Cameron is desperate to keep the NHS risk register secret because he knows that, if people could see the scale of the risks he is taking with the NHS, they would not forgive him. This disgraceful decision is a cover-up of epic proportions.

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