How much is the health bill likely to change?

Posted on April 18, 2011 by

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Lots of politicking and speculation in the media over the weekend over how much the government’s planned changes to the NHS are actually up for debate during the ‘listening exercise’ over the next month or so.

On Saturday, the Guardian NHS reforms going ahead regardless of pause, chief executive’s letter suggests reported on a letter from the chief executive of the NHS, David Nicholson, suggesting it showed that the pause in the process of the Health & Social Care Bill is purely cosmetic and the government’s planned changes are going to go ahead as scheduled despite the listening exercise. But on Sunday, the Telegraph NHS reform timetable could slip, David Cameron says quotes David Cameron from a Sky interview saying that “the listening exercise could significantly change the policy” and that timetables could be relaxed.

Also interesting, at the launch of the listening exercise, number 10 published a document Working together for a stronger NHS aimed at the public explaining why they are planning to change the NHS. Ben Goldacre did a bit of digging on the facts and figures it uses…

What next?

We’re obviously keeping an eye on the listening exercise and find ways to make some noise about research. We probably won’t know exactly when the Health & Social Care bill will return to parliament for a while – best guess somewhere in June –when it does, it’ll be heading for report stage and third reading in the Commons and the info will be here.

So while all this pausing, waiting and reflecting is going on, we’re getting super busy. I’m working with a coalition of groups that care about research to identify the big issues we’re worried about (see a quick summary of the big worries here) and explore how we can make sure that research gets a look in to all the ongoing discussions. This will include engaging with the NHS future forum, and taking part in the discussion that we’re all having right now and speaking direct to parliamentarians so that they  have the information they need to pick up on these issues when they get back to debating the bill..

Posted in: Policy