Health & Social Care Bill survives final parliamentary challenge
Controversial proposed reforms to the NHS have survived their final parliamentary test and are could become law before Easter.
The House of Lords this week approved the Health & Social Care Bill in spite of calls to postpone their final consideration of the NHS overhaul in England until an assessment of the potential risks is published.
Under the reforms, the private sector is likely to play a far greater role in the provision of NHS services which will now be commissioned by GPs as opposed to local health authorities. Opponents say it marks a “privatisation” of the NHS although supporters argue that greater competition will result in improved services and greater efficiency.
The bill has had a difficult passage through Parliament with the government conceding substantial changes to the legislation.
However, the government overcame the final major parliamentary obstacle to the bill when it defeated the Labour motion on the issue of potential risks by 328 to votes to 246.
Unions and opposition MPs have vowed to continue campaigning against certain aspects of the bill although it is now set to get Royal Assent and should become law by Easter.