First Health Bill amendments over-ruled by MPs

Amendments sought by Labour MPs to limit the reforms set out in the Health Bill have been rejected during the bill's committee stage.

Mr Burns was repeatedly questioned on the section of legislation in the Health Bill  that aims to protect the NHS from political interference
Mr Burns was repeatedly questioned on the section of legislation in the Health Bill that aims to protect the NHS from political interference

A lengthy list of amendments was discussed, including changes that would delay the abolition of PCTs and ensure the NHS Board has a role in managing the NHS as a whole.

During a noisy exchange with the Health and Social Care Bill committee, health minister Simon Burns was repeatedly pressed on the section of legislation that aims to protect the NHS from political interference.

Labour MPs warned that in its current form, the Health Bill absolves the secretary of state responsibility for the provision of NHS services. But Mr Burns said accountability was already ‘integral’ to the Bill. He was eventually warned by the committee chairman to ‘stop being so provocative deliberately’ as he fended off criticism.

None of the amendments debated was passed. The committee will continue to consider amendments to the Bill until the end of March. After the report stage, MPs will vote on the Bill at its third reading in Parliament, before moving to the House of Lords.

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