Labour motion against NHS reforms fails in the House of Commons
A Labour motion, highlighting ”growing concerns” over the Government’s handling of the plan to give greater power and control over funding to family doctors, was defeated by 284 votes to 231, majority 53.Mr Lansley promised that significant changes would be made to the legislation implementing the reforms as he addressed a raucous House of Commons.
He insisted the Health and Social Care Bill would not allow private companies to ”cherry-pick” the NHS’s most profitable services.
He told MPs that while the Government had an electoral mandate for its reforms, the Bill would only implement changes which were best for patients.
And he claimed Labour would have cut £30 billion from the NHS budget while the coalition was only looking to make efficiency savings of £20 billion.
Mr Lansley said: ”Let me be clear, there will be substantive changes to the Bill in order to deliver improvements for patients, but there is only one issue for me: will it deliver better care for patients?
”That is why we are going to pursue NHS modernisation, that is why we will stick to our principles. It is equally why we are listening to improve the Bill. That is what the coalition Government is committed to do.”
The Government has announced a “pause” in the legislation’s passage through Parliament in the face of mounting concern over the scale of the changes.
The reforms have also added to tensions between the Tories and their junior Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues.
Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg insisted at the weekend he would not allow through changes in the Health Bill unless he was personally satisfied that they would not result in a “disruptive revolution”.
In the Commons, Lib Dem Andrew George, a member of the Health Select Committee, said he would rebel on the Bill’s third reading unless his concerns were met.
He said: “The kind of changes I would like to see in the Bill would be so substantial that they would take the guts out of the Bill itself.”
Mr George (St Ives) said he was concerned about “handing all of that power” to a “very narrow group” of medical professionals – the GPs.
He said that there was reluctance “and at worst outright hostility” among GPs over what they were being asked to take on.
“I don’t go along with the view that they’re keen to get on with it. Well, they’re responsible people, they’re responsible.”
Tags: Andrew Lansley, Conservatives, Health Professionals, nhs cash shortages, Patients' Association