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07
Sep

Health & Social Care Bill returns to Parliament


The Health & Social Care Bill was yesterday discussed in Parliament ahead of today’s vote, with the Government talking of its plans for modernisation and the safeguarding of the NHS for the future.

 

The Department of Health has said the Bill’s core principle of modernising the NHS is to create a stronger health system:

  • where the Secretary of State will continue, as now, to promote and be accountable for a comprehensive health service;
  • driven by health professionals, not Whitehall and bureaucracy;
  • where patients and the public are in the driving seat of their care, supported with more choice, information and control;
  • with greater integration of services;
  • with a new ‘Duty of Candour’, a contractual requirement on providers to be open and transparent in admitting mistakes, and;
  • that’s focused on prevention and tackling the causes of poor health and health inequalities.


[quote top=Andrew Lansley said:] The Health and Social Care Bill will both safeguard the future of our NHS, and move us closer to a health service that puts patients at the heart of everything it does.
It ensures that future generations can rely, as previous ones have – on an NHS that is always there, always improving and always free at the point of use. [/quote]


“The principles of our modernisation plans – patient power, clinical leadership, a focus on results, stated in the Coalition Agreement and again in last year’s White Paper – have always been at the core of the Bill. Principles which are widely accepted as reported by the independent NHS Future Forum. They called for us now to get on; and today we are getting on with modernising the NHS.”

 

The Bill has not been welcomed by all however, and a poll held by the Unite union, which represents over 100,000 healthcare professionals, revealed that over 90% of people do not trust the Prime Minister with regard to the NHS.

 

The poll also revealed that 70% of respondents believe that the Government reforms will lead to privatisation.

 

In a Unite press release, published on politics.co.uk, Unite national officer Rachel Maskell  was quoted as saying:  “David Cameron has tried to re-invent the Tory party as a caring, pro-NHS party. This poll proves that people have not been fooled by David Cameron’s PR blitz on his NHS reforms.

 

“David Cameron promised no privatisation, yet through subjecting the NHS to European competition law, powerful private healthcare companies will have the resources to run legal rings around these new smaller commissioning bodies.”


“David Cameron promised he would eliminate excessive bureaucracy, yet he is replacing 162 NHS organisations with over 500 new commissioning bodies, each with their own accounting, HR and contracting functions. Bureaucracy will mushroom and money that should be spent on patient care will be spent on this new army of bureaucrats,” said Maskell.

 

“The Government’s health bill will also remove the private patient cap on in trusts, which will allow wealthy patients to be treated before everybody else.

 

“If the Health and Social Care Bill goes through, it will be a disaster for patients. It does nothing to address the big issues we are facing in health. It is just a massive untested re-organisation. It’s as clear to the public, as it is to health professionals, that David Cameron cannot be trusted with the NHS,” added Maskell.

 

Following the vote today, the Bill could clear the House of Commons and progress to the House of Lords.

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