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Published on October 12th, 2011 | by Lorna Gledhill
Image © [caption id="attachment_4156" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Protesters voice their disquiet over the Health and Social Care Bill (c) MattieTK"]NHS cuts never heal[/caption] Today, peers have voted against Lord Owen’s amendment, which would have sent the government’s NHS bill for further scrutiny from a select committee, with 330 against and 262 for. This, coupled with the rejection of former GP Lord Rea’s amendment to block the bill completely, allows the Health and Social Care Bill to continue through the house. This controversial bill will now go to committee stage, report stage and a final third reading in the Lords before it heads back to the commons. The Health and Social Care bill puts in place fundamental changes to the practices of the NHS. It plans to replace abolished primary care trusts and strategic health authorities with commissioning bodies led by general practitioners. However, the biggest controversy is the increased potential for the use of private healthcare within the NHS. Critics claim that the new system will encourage GPs to outsource services that can be provided privately, creating entrepreneurs rather than doctors. Whilst Earl Howe, the current Health Minister, has explicitly stated, “the bill does not do anything that might or could lead to the privatisation of the NHS,” opposition outside of the house remains strong. Unfortunately, the government cannot deny that their changes are set to encourage private companies and charities to have a greater involvement in the NHS. As the private sector is wooed, there are set to be redundancies of more than 20,000 management and administrative staff from health authorities, PCTs and the Department of Health. David Cameron has still not received the support he expected from health professionals and the British Medical Association, who represents over 100,000 doctors, is still calling for the withdrawal of the bill. Equally, a petition authored by campaigning group 38 Degrees had received almost 160,000 signatures before the vote went to the Lords. Even 2000 people took to the streets of Westminster dressed up as wounded doctors and nurses on Sunday to express their disquiet about the proposed changes. Fundamentally, many believe that the coalition government have no mandate to be making such drastic changes to the NHS. They were not outlined in neither the Conservative nor Liberal Democrat Party manifestos. In fact, in his 2010 election campaign, David Cameron asserted that the NHS was at the ‘heart’ of the Tory manifesto and the country’s “number one priority.” To many, the real ideological heart of the NHS has just been brutally ripped out.

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Controversial NHS bill clears key Lords hurdle

NHS cuts never heal

Protesters voice their disquiet over the Health and Social Care Bill (c) MattieTK

Today, peers have voted against Lord Owen’s amendment, which would have sent the government’s NHS bill for further scrutiny from a select committee, with 330 against and 262 for. This, coupled with the rejection of former GP Lord Rea’s amendment to block the bill completely, allows the Health and Social Care Bill to continue through the house. This controversial bill will now go to committee stage, report stage and a final third reading in the Lords before it heads back to the commons.

The Health and Social Care bill puts in place fundamental changes to the practices of the NHS. It plans to replace abolished primary care trusts and strategic health authorities with commissioning bodies led by general practitioners. However, the biggest controversy is the increased potential for the use of private healthcare within the NHS. Critics claim that the new system will encourage GPs to outsource services that can be provided privately, creating entrepreneurs rather than doctors. Whilst Earl Howe, the current Health Minister, has explicitly stated, “the bill does not do anything that might or could lead to the privatisation of the NHS,” opposition outside of the house remains strong.

Unfortunately, the government cannot deny that their changes are set to encourage private companies and charities to have a greater involvement in the NHS. As the private sector is wooed, there are set to be redundancies of more than 20,000 management and administrative staff from health authorities, PCTs and the Department of Health.

David Cameron has still not received the support he expected from health professionals and the British Medical Association, who represents over 100,000 doctors, is still calling for the withdrawal of the bill. Equally, a petition authored by campaigning group 38 Degrees had received almost 160,000 signatures before the vote went to the Lords. Even 2000 people took to the streets of Westminster dressed up as wounded doctors and nurses on Sunday to express their disquiet about the proposed changes. Fundamentally, many believe that the coalition government have no mandate to be making such drastic changes to the NHS. They were not outlined in neither the Conservative nor Liberal Democrat Party manifestos. In fact, in his 2010 election campaign, David Cameron asserted that the NHS was at the ‘heart’ of the Tory manifesto and the country’s “number one priority.” To many, the real ideological heart of the NHS has just been brutally ripped out.

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  • Yeractual

    Spot on. The only challenge now mountable against the corridors of power, is 'feet on the streets' campaigns. I am advocating civil (peaceful?) disobedience on a grand scale, – millions, not thousands.

    The Lib Dems are politically dead now, it is surprisingly they (not the tories) in the second house who killed the NHS.

  • Yeractual

    Spot on. The only challenge now mountable against the corridors of power, is 'feet on the streets' campaigns. I am advocating civil (peaceful?) disobedience on a grand scale, – millions, not thousands.

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