Rocky, Rocky, Rocky

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 The return of Sylvester Stallone in 2006 to the Rocky character may not have been Andrew Lansley’s first choice for Orange Wednesday when it was first released. But the character who famously took down the interpretation of the Soviet government in one fight and then Mr T. in another did have some wise words that may well be of interest to him. Especially after the battering he took last week.

Rocky, speaking to his son in a husky New York accent, said: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

While Lansley might not have taken any physical punches – yet – over his controversial reforms to the NHS, there can be no mistaking he’s been metaphorically beaten from pillar to post by various associations since the White Paper containing his reforms was published back in July 2010.

The latest combination of blows came from the RCGP and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. A swift right jab from Dr Clare Gerada came when she wrote directly to the Prime Minister urging him to withdraw the Health and Social Care Bill for the benefit of the NHS and patients.

The blow from Dr Gerada may not have been the first which knocked ‘Basher’ Lansley back in his stride, but it may be the one which takes his breath away more than any have before. GPs on the ground, which voted for the third time in a survey commissioned by the RCGP, hold more punching power where the changes are concerned. After all, it’s these same doctors which will be at the heart of clinical commissioning. Without these in his corner, how can Lansley possible punch through his reforms?

Whether or not Lansley will be able to continue his ‘rode-a-dope’ approach remains to be seen. However, if he continues to take hurtful body blows like he did last week, his reign as Health Secretary may be entering the last round as champion of the reforms.