I have adopted a Peer to lobby in the fight against the Health and Social Care Bill.
You can too. Click here. We get allocated a Lord (or Lady) at random, and can send a letter. Here's mine:
Health and Social Care Bill
As a retired General Practitioner, who have worked all my life in the NHS, I very much hope that you will do all you can to radically amend the HSCB, making sure that the worst aspects are removed. I paste here a list, generated by Dr Evan Harris, an ex-MP, highlighting the aspects that most need to be amended. You will probably recognise this as a LibDem amendment, but the NHS is a matter beyond party politics, (I am a Green), and this is a fuller version than other lists that are circulating.
1. the removal of all references to promoting competition whether directly or indirectly.
2. any duty to promote choice being made subsidiary to duties to promote fair access, equality of outcomes, and integrated services.
3. the removal of the facility for transferring NHS assets, including land, to third party providers.
4. retaining the cap on Private patient income by NHS Foundation trusts.
5. the restoration of the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of, healthcare services, and the reinstatement of the power of the Secretary of State to delegate his functions to NHS commissioners and to direct them as necessary.
6. the retention of the ability of the local authority overview and scrutiny function to refer significant services changes to the Secretary of State for adjudication.
7. providing that Health and Well-being Boards (HWBs) have a majority of elected members and are able refer unresolved disputes with local commissioners to the Secretary of State rather than to a national qango.
8. the explicit prohibition of the wholesale outsourcing of commissioning work to private companies.
9. guaranteeing that commissioning groups are fully co-terminous with social services local authorities, except where HWBs and local authorities agree otherwise, and are funded solely on the basis of the health needs of the population.
10.the removal of the power to pay financial incentives to practitioners as a means of influencing their referral behaviour.
11.rejection of any personal health budget scheme which allow users to spend NHS funds on private health insurance or as a top up towards private health care or to buy services or treatments judged too ineffective or inefficient for the NHS to buy.
12.the inclusion of a duty on all NHS bodies, when arranging with non-NHS bodies to provide services, to avoid any risk of essential NHS services (including teaching and research) being destabilised in an unplanned way through loss of income or case-load,
13.ensuring Directors of Public Health remain independent sources of expert advice.
I trust that you will put much effort into amending this Bill. The NHS is well loved by its users, and despite its deficiencies, is one of the most efficient health services in the world.
Thank you for working on this most important matter.