Unite members: Health and Social Care Act developments

The ACP's Unite representatives would like to draw members' attention to a concerning development regarding the Health and Social Care Act.

Currently, regulations are about to go through parliament, without debate, as they are secondary legislation to the Act. These regulations affect section 75 of the act, on competition. They appear to impose a strict obligation on Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to put all services out to competitive tender or Any Qualified provider, except in an "emergency". This contradicts assurances that were given by Andrew Lansley, Earl Howe and others that CCGs would not be obliged to use competition and they would be free to choose when to use it.

There is a campaign now to put pressure on both houses to debate and vote on these regulations. There is very little time to achieve this.

There are several things you could do:

  1. Write by 3 March to seclegscrutiny@parliament.uk This is the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee in the House of Lords. Please let them know we were given assurances by ministers and guidance that suggested competition would be used judiciously and in a restrained manner. These regulations contradict that reassurance - the reality is very different.
  2. Write to your MP asking them to demand a debate. We attach a parliamentary briefing about the regulations that you could use as the basis for a letter.

You might also wish to look at a useful recent article in the Guardian