Like all weeks in Parliament, there is quite a lot on. Even massive nerds like me struggle to care about most of it, but there are always a few nuggets worth paying attention to. Here are the things healthcare professionals should be paying attention to.
The Health Select Committee will release their report on childhood obesity. This report will make uncomfortable reading for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, given the recent furore over the proposed sugar tax and the ongoing crises of junior doctor contract talks and NHS finances. The report will probably generate an ‘action plan’, health professionals will be interested to see if it’s up to snuff.
The Health Select Committee will interview the potential new head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Peter Wyman. He has held a few interesting roles over his career. A bit of digging reveals the following:
- He is a senior advisor to Allbright Stonebridge Group – a company that advises multinationals on business strategy, or in blunter terms, a lobbying group.
- He is a member of the board of Companies House. This group oversees businesses in the UK.
- He was previously president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a senior figure at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
It is a little surprising that the Government’s preferred candidate to oversee the quality of healthcare is a man with ongoing interests in business. Hiring Wyman would open them up to further criticism about their desire to further the links between the NHS and private business interests.
A bill designed to make off-patent drugs cheaper will get its second chance in Parliament. It will take a miracle for it to even be talked about as 11 other bills have to be voted on before it. It has such a late position as it was blocked on its first day by Alistair Burt, Minister for Social Care, who spoke for nearly half an hour to stop it passing.
To be honest, a lot less of interest to healthcare professionals in Parliament this week than most weeks. Though the upcoming junior doctors strike, and the ongoing NHS financial crisis, will ensure health and politics don’t stray too far apart.