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Health bill arose from attempt to accommodate Lib Dem as well as Tory ideas, says commentator

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4833 (Published 16 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4833
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The widely held view that the health secretary for England, Andrew Lansley, was the sole begetter of his own political misfortunes over the Health and Social Care Act is mistaken, concludes a new account of the controversial legislation.1

Nick Timmins, former public policy editor of the Financial Times, finds the fingerprints of the Liberal Democrats all over the bill and identifies the confusion that arose in the weeks after the coalition was formed as the key to understanding why an evolutionary change became revolutionary turmoil.

In Never Again, published by the King’s Fund and the Institute for Government, Timmins traces the history of the legislation from published sources and through interviews with those involved.

He told a meeting at the institute on 12 July that among the relatively few who declined his requests for interviews were Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander, Conservative and Liberal Democrat respectively, who in the weeks after the coalition was formed had the job of turning the sketchy coalition agreement into a programme for government. This was done in haste and …

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