Intended for healthcare professionals


Bury the bill

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 26 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d4050
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor, BMJ,
  2. Edward Davies, editor, BMJ Careers,
  3. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, BMJ
  1. Correspondence to: T Delamothe tdelamothe{at}

The proposed reforms to the Health and Social Care Bill would leave it unfit for any purpose

In January we judged it too early to let the Health and Social Care Bill out of the lab.1 Its proposals had no clear rationale, lacked coherence, and looked like costing more than they would save. Since then, the bill’s flaws have become only more obvious. Instead of further tinkering, it would be better for the NHS, the government, and the people of England to sweep the bill’s mangled remains into an unmarked grave and move on.

Activity over the past five months has continued at the same frenetic pace set by the publication of the white paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, two months after last year’s general election. This activity has included the bill’s second reading in the House of Commons, a two month committee stage, and (in response to growing criticism) an unusual stopping of the legislative clock for an eight week “listening exercise.” The group set up to do the listening, the NHS Future Forum, formally reported on 13 June, and the next day the government accepted the bulk of its recommendations. Amendments to the bill will return to the Commons, and an amended bill is expected to clear the house before it rises for the summer recess on 19 July.

Dead man walking

Surprisingly, it was the mild mannered grandees of the UK …

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