The Section 75 debate

Jos Bell reports from the Commons on the debate over Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act.

Section 75 of the Health Act requirements nearly all commissioning done by the National Commissioning Board (NCB) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to be carried out through competitive markets.

Unable to countenance the reproving looks being thrown across the dispatch box from the opposition front bench, Andrew Lansley opted for giving himself a poke in the eye instead –  presumably hoping in vain that Doc Dan Poulter might offer a pecs-strip diversionary tactic to make everyone forgot the whole horrid business.

Hunt had failed to show, but instead thrust Norman Lamb-to-the-Slaughter took the bench to deliver a nasally challenged vow of atonement in a failed attempt at downsizing the significance of the moment.

Clearly the more than 2,000 voices of alarm received by the Lords Scrutiny Committee (who are normally more than thrilled to receive 10 pieces of correspondence per Section), the 250,000 clamorous voices of 38 Degrees and the cacophony of protest from every corner had been enough to send Hunt running for his Section 75 bunny hole.

Lamb deployed his own little l’Oreal privatisation ‘it has to be worth it’ joke before acknowledging that the offending secondary legislation has resulted in ‘confusion’.

As we all watched this sorry performance, we are led to believe that Hunt was busily drawing up ‘absolutely clear’ amendment rules ‘to put the matter beyond doubt’ and quickly put himself into Back to the Future reverse gear to return the tendering rule to the status of the previous Act – or as we otherwise know it – the rule of the previous government.

As Burnham thundered – in genuine anger over wasted time and energy and the negative impact on an NHS in total confusion. ‘Doctors will decide was always a figleaf…  the coalition policy is in utter chaos – after all the upheaval

What on earth was the point of the giant Health and Social Care Bill if this, at the core of it, is now to be taken out and the legislation returned to the original model of the past government?!’

Gisela Stuart probably asked the question for all of us ‘I wonder if the minister wishes he had never started it’

Then, before we become too ecstatic about this – a note of caution from Helen Jones, MP, who asked if this was simply to be a reprise of the infamous Listening Period, where all was façade and nothing changed.

Lest we forget, this government (Lib Dems included) have been putting out the universal message that there was absolutely no chance ‘oh dear no’ of the H&SCA driving in Compulsory Competitive Tendering and now they seem to be falling over themselves in the rush to amend the regulations to stop it taking hold.

Contradictory evidence was never so obvious.

Meanwhile let us all keep our NHS antennae bleeping, for skullduggery and misrepresentation cannot have simply disappeared overnight.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today. 

7 Responses to “The Section 75 debate”

  1. Mick

    LFF are simply farting out the links today.

    Oh lovely Labour, ‘whiter than white’ according to Tony Blair, riding their boners to rescue the nation from the evil of easing the burden on the taxpayer. Just a question of how that happens.

    However, section 75 was firmly rooted during the tenure of the last Labour people, in 2006. Unless there are two Section 75s for the left to froth at the mouth over. This article simply falls over its words to rush all the chatter out.
    ______________
    Legal blokes say so: http://www.practicallaw.com/4-385-1383

  2. Raging Leftie

    This has turned into a real omnishambles. The whole thing is a complete mess whichever way you look at it, what exactly is the bill meant to achieve now anyway? Surely it would be best just to drop it into a shredder and forget the whole thing – I think a lot of people would breathe a collective sigh of relief.

  3. Mick

    As I understand it, Labour allowed the like of NHS Trusts to easily subcontract outside firms to do their stuff for them. According to this, Labour are blowing at the Tories over the issue.

  4. Newsbot9

    Labour, who were backing away from this since 2007? Keep blaming them. This is a Tory bill, for reference.

  5. Newsbot9

    Yes, keep making excuses, and pushing your partisan bigotry.

  6. Mr Reasonable

    Quite a lot of people who have never liked the Conservatives did not think much of Mr. Blair’s ‘petit Tory’ government, and most of those were not even members of the SWP! If such folk slag off the present Government’s public sector bargain-basement give-away bonanza, it is in addition to recognising that much of what is happening today had its origins in the life of the last government. That doesn’t mean to say that somehow these unpalatable facts have been ignored because there was a Labour Government. On the contrary, it is simply a recognition that this policy was wrong then, too, and it’s wrong now.

    Perhaps such might be said by Conservatives in the future about the ‘bedroom tax’.

  7. ScienceME

    All smoke and mirrors. They say they are not trying to privatise by stealth, when clearly they are doing it openly. They say that they are not now going to have everything carried out through competitive markets. Well so what? So only some of it, but which parts? Is it the ones where they can make the most money?

Leave a Reply