URGENT: Help stop NHS privatisation by the back door

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee is a cross party group in the Lords, tasked with examining regulations, to see if they comply with the policy objectives of the original legislation.

They will be considering the new NHS regulations for Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Bill, and are our best chance to raise objections over the changes that the government are trying to sneak in.

A critical report from the Committee would put huge pressure on the government, and could help secure a vital debate on the issue in Parliament.

Please help us give the Committee something to think about in their debate by writing your own comment on this, to help them see the wide range of concern over this issue. We want to work with them, so rather than setting up loads of direct emails to them, we will be collating replies to send as a broader evidence submission. Time is of the essence, and we will need your comments by 11am on Tuesday 26 February, in order to meet their deadline.

Comments don’t need to be long or referenced in detail. It’s more important to write something short, succinct and in clear English, with minimal health jargon if you can avoid it.

You might like to consider one or more of these points in your comment:

  • Do you have concerns about a particular local service, as a service user, NHS staff member or local commissioner? Showing a range of experiences will be important in showing the breadth of opposition.
  • The government gave assurances to the Lords when the original Bill was passing. Earl Howe (Government Health Spokesperson in the Lords) said: “Clinicians will be free to commission services in the way they consider best. We intend to make it clear that commissioners will have a full range of options and that they will be under no legal obligation to create new markets….” (6/3/12, Hansard)
  • The regulations break these promises by requiring nearly all commissioning to be carried out through competitive markets, forcing through privatisation regardless of the will of local people and their commissioning groups.
  • The regulations contain legal powers for health watchdog Monitor to enforce privatisation, including at the request of private companies which lost bids.
  • You might also have heard of the successful Gloucestershire campaign which overturned privatisation of nine hospitals, instead keeping them in the NHS without tendering (in October 2012, after the Act was passed). This option will no longer be possible if these regulations go through.
  • The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee is established to scrutinise the policy content of regulations, to see if it is a fair interpretation of the original legislation. In this case, the regulations for Section 75 are undermining the amendments that Parliament made to the Bill.