The government’s controversial NHS bill for England has cleared a crucial hurdle after peers rejected a proposal to send it for further scrutiny… Peers have also rejected an amendment to block the bill altogether.
[Opponent of the Bill] Lord Owen argued a special select committee was the only way of looking at “the complexity of this new relationship we are trying to establish” between patients, clinicians and the secretary of state.
“Health is not a public utility,” he warned. “Health is different.” Labour supported [Lord Owen's ] amendment, and Baroness Thornton, who leads for them on health in the Lords, said the bill would turn “patient choice into shopping”, while healthcare would become a “traded commodity”.
Areas to think about:
- Is healthcare uniquely different to other forms of service provision? For instance, does anything make it more unique than social care, or power generation, or sewage or any of the many other services we rely on (even more frequently than the NHS) to survive with a good quality of life?
- Would the Bill result in healthcare becoming “a traded commodity” as Baroness Thornton suggests?
- If so, what are the implications of this? Can you think of any pros and cons of such a development?
- Putting all the above together, what is your opinion on the Bill?