Lansley’s outrageous ban covering up risks in his NHS reform

Today the information commissioner publishes his findings to Parliament on the outrageous veto by Andrew Lansley in preventing publication of the NHS risk register.(see – report here http://bit.ly/MfEPVi )

The health secretary would have us believe that the public and the press are so naive that they must not be seduced in his words  by ” sensationalised reporting and debate ” of its findings.

In other words this is all right from Cabinet ministers and senior officials to read all the risky details  of his reforms – but the public must be treated like children, not capable of understanding the issues. What patronising piffle!

What I really suspect is that Mr Lansley does not want the public to read the full facts – something that when in opposition his Cabinet colleague, transport secretary,Justine Greening, rightly disagreed when it came to the risks of building a further runway at Heathrow.

But now in government it is of course all different, no one must know the real consequences of Mr Lansley’s decisions. I am delighted that Chris Graham, the Information Commissioner, stood firm on this one.

 But I suspect this decision is all part of an attempt by the government to row back on freedom of information. It fits in with Lord O’Donnell’s claim that if this goes on – it will have a chilling effect on discussion. The establishment both in the form of Jack Straw, Tony Blair and now Andrew Lansley, would love a world where we all lived in deference to ministers and senior civil servants.

No doubt charges for FOI will soon follow. Frankly if the government is planning to revert to a closed society, there is one simple solution. The risk register must be leaked.

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