Terminal prognosis for sickly Health Bill

Liberal Democrat member of the Commons Health Select Committee and consistent opponent of the Government’s Health Bill, Andrew George, is urging Government Ministers to pull the plug on the beleaguered Health and Social Care Bill (which is being debated again in the House of Lords today).

Mr George used Prime Minister’s Questions on 18th January 2012 to call on David Cameron to scrap the Bill and go back to the Coalition Agreement.

Mr George notes that the Health Bill is opposed by the bulk of clinical, professional and patient organisations, that senior Conservatives now realise that the Bill will “retoxify” their Party and that it has little credible independent support.

Mr George said, “The Health Bill has no friends and hardly anyone can find a good word to say about it, let alone justify why it was introduced in the first place.

“This isn’t the occasion to become diverted onto the future fortunes of the Secretary of State. This is not about the prospects of any individual but about the fortunes of the NHS.”

“The Coalition Agreement promised that there would be ‘no more top down reorganisation’ of the health service but they’ve ended up introducing the greatest reorganisation at the very time the NHS needs stability.

“I acknowledge that stopping the Bill would be disruptive. But not as disruptive as allowing the Bill to carry on.

“All the Government needs to do is remove the unknown PCT Commissioners appointed through Central Government’s old boys’ network and replace them with local clinicians, community and patient representatives. Just giving local PCTs the power to drive efficiency, value for money and quality, is all that was ever needed.

“No-one has been demanding ‘patient choice’. Other than Government Ministers, who want to use it to accelerate the marketisation of the NHS through the back door.”

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