The Health and Care Bill that’s having its 2nd reading in the House of Commons this afternoon (14 July 2021) has 2 massive shockers:
- In handing commissioning from Clinical Commissioning Groups to Integrated Care Boards, it removes the 2006 NHS Act s 3 requirement to commission (arrange for the provision of) hospital medical services and ophthalmic services. (Health and Care Bill Part 1, 15.1 and Schedule 3, para 3, new section 82B)
- And it speaks mysteriously of Integrated Care Board’s “core responsiblities” for the people it covers, (with the implicit suggestion that these responsibilities are limited). Further, it says that NHS England may regulate to exclude certain unspecified people from being covered by the Integrated Care Boards, meaning these people will have no right of access to NHS treatments. (Health and Care Bill Part 1, 15.2-3)
So in one fell swoop the Bill would deprive us of the certainty of NHS hospital medical services and opthalmic services, and would also deprive us of the certainty that we will be able to access ANY NHS services.
Tell your MP NOW they MUST object today to these aspects of the Bill – even if not to any others. More info here: https://bit.ly/MPsMustGetAnswers
It’s grim but the good thing is it’s not a foregone conclusion and we can fight it.
British Medical Association Council votes overwhelmingly to tell MPs to reject the Bill
Thanks to a GP who raised the Bill in the British Medical Association Council, the doctors’ trade union council members just had a debate and voted overwhelmingly against supporting the Bill.
Apparently the briefing by Professor Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick (linked to above as MPs Must Get Answers) was very helpful in the debate.
The GP who passed on this news this said
“This could potentially help other unions come off the fence. It will also bolster Labour in their opposition.”
Here’s the BMA Press release “The wrong Bill at the wrong time: BMA council calls on MPs to reject Health and Care Bill” .
Apparently anticipating that the Tory majority in the House of Commons means that MPs will not be able to stop the Bill passing the second reading, the BMA Council has also identified Parliamentary amendments that they will be calling for and says without them they will be unable to give any future support for the Bill. The amendments include:
- making sure there are genuine and transparent protections against privatisation,
- embedding clinical leadership throughout Integrated Care Systems,
- addressing the ‘power grab’ by the Secretary of State
- ensuring political responsibility for staffing levels.
Some campaigners have privately criticised the BMA Council for not going far enough in rejecting the Health and Care Bill.