NHS competition: Ask Peers to give revised regulations proper scrutiny on 24 April
After a huge public outcry forced Jeremy Hunt to withdraw and rewrite his controversial new NHS competition regulations last this month, the government came back with a new draft, which has now passed into law without debate.
However, there is still an opportunity for Peers to scrutinise this, as by a quirk of parliamentary procedure, they are able to debate and even overrule secondary legislation, for a short period after it has become law. A 'fatal motion' to reject the regulations has been laid in the Lords for debate on 24 April.
Peers have good reason to want to examine these regulations closely, as the Act only narrowly passed last year after the government gave Peers considerable assurances that competition and marketisation would not be made compulsory, where local people and their commissioning groups decided they do not want it for their services.
However, expert legal opinion suggests that the new regulations do in effect make competition almost impossible to avoid. Local groups will be pressured into opening nearly all services out to private markets by a combination of over-strict guidelines and the real threat of legal action from private healthcare companies. Services will become further fragmented, and scarce NHS funds wasted in complex tendering processes and legal fees.
The 24 April motion in the House of Lords represents the last chance for Parliament to amend or reject these regulations. Peers have a chance to give the regulations the scrutiny the government have been so keen to avoid, and hold the government to the promises they made in the House last year.
Adopt a Peer
You can help raise concerns about the threat to NHS services by writing to a member of the House of Lords ahead of the 24 April debate. They aren't as used to individual lobbying as MPs, so receiving personal contacts from members of the public should really get their attention.
Of course, one of the reasons they don't get much contact is that they don't have a direct group of constituents. We can help get around this, using this tool to adopt a Peer. We'll match you at random to a member of the House of Lords and help you to contact them, either directly with a posted letter, or by email.
If you have previously written to a Peer, our site will be able to identify who it was and offer you the chance to write to the same Peer again, or choose another.
To get started, add your email address here:
(We'll use your email to update you on this campaign and related actions)