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The NHS shake up

9th February 2012

The government’s plans to overhaul the NHS have seen a vote go against it in The House of Lords.

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Peers backed an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill - demanding mental health is made a higher priority - by a margin of four votes.

Several other amendments to the bill were debated in the session on Wednesday, though no more were voted on.

The Lords defeat follow calls from Labour to drop the bill entirely, with Labour leader Ed Miliband describing it as a “complete disaster.”

The Health and Social Care Bill is opposed by Labour and has faced criticism from a number of Liberal Democrat and independent peers.

If passed, it will see the biggest shake-up of the NHS since 1948 with a major element of it seeing GPs having control of large segments of the NHS budget.

Further proposed amendments, in addition to the 100-plus concessions the government has already offered in a bid to get the controversial bill passed, will be discussed in the House of Lords in the weeks ahead.

The mental health amendment, put forward by Labour peer Lord Patel was passed by 244 votes to 240.

Other amendments debated focussed on the powers and responsibilities of the health secretary.

Opposition to the bill from members of medical organisations including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have fuelled speculation about Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s position.

The bill also saw Prime Minister David Cameron and Mr Miliband clash at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons.

 

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