There are two sorts of listening.
There is listening as in:
“We’ll set up a forum, and we’ll chose who comes and what they say.”
“We’ll listen to you telling us how choice and competition will make things better. But we won’t let you talk about competition between ‘any willing provider’ because we are going to have a special discussion document about that.
“We’ll listen to how education can support the changes we want to introduce, but we won’t listen to your worries about how teaching hospitals will teach new surgeons when there aren’t any patients left because they have all been whisked away by the competition.
“Oh, and while we are listening, staff will continue to leave the PCTs, most of the deadlines for GPs to get organised will remain, so another two months down the line we will be able to say it’s too late to go back.”
And then there is listening as in:
I’m here, what do you want to tell me?
Government launches NHS listening exercise
‘Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today launched the Government’s listening exercise.’
Cameron, Clegg and Lansley each told us that they were going to listen, but for listeners they did an awful lot of talking. Why are they listening now? The Health and Social Care Bill has already had its second reading and finished the committee stage. Why didn’t they listen when GPs, Consultants, Hospital Managers, the NHS confederation, Nurses, the BMA and academic experts like the Kings Fund all told them that their plans for the NHS would damage the NHS, break up the NHS, perhaps even kill the NHS?
OK readers; if they are listening we had better tell them. You had better tell them. There are serious, serious threats to the comprehensive and free healthcare that we call the NHS.