TUC urges support for Lord Owen and Lord Hennessy's amendment

Published on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 11:05
Posted by Scott Buckler

The TUC is asking people concerned about the government's controversial Health and Social Care Bill and what it means for the future of the NHS to encourage Peers to support the amendment being moved today (Wednesday) by Lord (David) Owen and Lord (Peter) Hennessy

The two Peers are calling for the whole of part three of the Bill - which deals with increasing competition in the NHS, and which has so far aroused the most opposition - to be referred to a special Select Committee so that it can be studied in more detail.

The TUC says that because so much of the Bill was changed by government amendments in its final stages in the Commons - following the pause and listening exercise conducted by ministers - it has in effect not received the degree of scrutiny normally given to draft legislation.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'There has been no substantial debate about whether the changes made in the Commons meet the many concerns raised by health experts and unions representing NHS staff. In fact it could be said that the Bill is now even more bureaucratic and complicated than when it first started out.

'A proper in-depth review of this part of the Bill is absolutely necessary even if it gets in the way of the government's preferred timetable. We're urging anyone who cares about the NHS and the quality of care it provides to take a moment out to email a member of the House of Lords. If enough Peers make a stand and vote for the amendment, we may be able to slow or even stop this controversial Bill.'

The thousands of people who have so far signed up to the TUC's Adopt a Peer scheme http://www.goingtowork.org.uk/peers/ are being asked to email members of the House of Lords, asking them to back the Owen-Hennessy amendment.

For those adopting a Peer for the first time, the Adopt a Peer tool will pick a member of the House of Lords for them at random, tell them a bit about their chosen Peer, and then give them the means of emailing them directly.

Last month to mark the final Commons stages of the Health and Social Care Bill, healthcare workers and general secretaries of unions with members in the NHS held a candlelit vigil in Westminster to draw attention to their concerns that the Bill risks fundamentally altering the founding principles of the NHS.

NHS staff and their unions fear that the Health and Social Care Bill will mean that:


  • Competition and markets will be extended within the health service even though international evidence already shows the NHS to be one of the most efficient health systems in the world.
  • NHS hospitals will be allowed to maximise their income from private patients, pushing NHS patients to the back of growing waiting lists.
  • The Any Qualified Provider concept will hinder NHS provision, and open up swathes of the health service to the private sector.
  • Removing the duty on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure the provision of NHS services will increase the risk of postcode lotteries in the care available and mean a lack of accountability.
  • Huge changes are forced through at a time when the NHS is already being asked to find £20 billion of efficiency savings (4 per cent a year) and over 50,000 NHS jobs are likely to be lost.

Source: TUC

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