There are many good things to take from the White Paper on NHS reform released yesterday. The general thrust behind it - patient choice and clinician led care - is a good one. For too long, politicians have bogged the system down, and healthcare staff conformed to targets set by Whitehall. Yesterday's paper saw the introduction of GP consortia to carry out commissioning, which will be free to buy services from willing providers who will compete to provide services. We've said before that the NHS was too closed off to competition. This story shows how practice-based commissioning could work in practice – and this White Paper goes further than the previous government’s plans.
In the true TPA spirit, our supporters have clearly been keeping their eyes peeled recently for profligate spending in their local public sector. Yesterday, we featured a picture taken at a petrol pump of some dubious Business Link West Midlands advertising; today it’s an article from the Kentish Gazette, sent to our offices by a fed-up activist.
The headline reads “Row over council’s £40,000 trip to the golf Open”, and refers to Canterbury City Council’s planned visit to St. Andrews in Scotland for the Open Championship golf later this month. Staff will be setting up a ‘huge Kent branded-stand’ on the sidelines in order to promote the area who’ll be hosting next year’s championship. But local hoteliers have complained that this is a waste of time and ultimately a costly jolly for local government staff as they’re already packed to the rafters for the event next year and couldn’t take another booking.
In these times of austerity, sporting entertainment can be an enjoyable way to relieve the pressures of making ends meet. But I’m afraid the taxman has already got that covered. To inspire our next generation of sporting and cultural heroes, our many great national events endeavour to attract the best and most celebrated athletes to astound and exhilarate, yet our authorities seem to do their best to scare off this talent.Yesterday Usain Bolt announced to an international media that he would not be participating at next month’s Aviva London Grand Prix. An injury perhaps? A tiresome season? No – just Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) doing their best to deter the world’s best talent from the British stage.
The public transport industry are out in force today telling the Telegraph that the world will end if the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) is abolished. The Telegraph report quotes two groups. The Campaign for Better Transport, radical anti-car campaigners who are partly funded by public transport companies and have also received huge amounts of taxpayer funding over the years. And Stagecoach, who are one of the operators that do quite well out of the grant. So this is yet another case of an industry and their stooges trying to look after their slice of taxpayers' cash.