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CSP praises members support in lobbying over health bill

21 March 2012 - 12:46pm

The government's controversial plans for overhaul of the NHS have passed their final test in parliament and are finally set to become law.

The House of Lords approved the Health and Social Care Bill on Monday night after 15 months in parliament and more than 1,000 amendments.

A Labour call for MPs to postpone final consideration of the bill until an assessment of the potential risks was published was defeated by 82 votes.

Law by Easter

The government hopes the bill will become law by Easter.

Speaking at the society’s quarterly council meeting today, chief executive Phil Gray said the CSP had managed an excellent lobbying campaign in very difficult circumstances.

The campaign has raised the profile of the society in the longer term, he argued: ‘The CSP has been seen as a really serious player alongside the royal medical colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association, as well as other health unions.’

Active members

Mr Gray thanked CSP members who were actively involved in the CSP campaign. This included completing surveys, writing to MPs, lobbying a Lord or attending one of the TUC co-ordinated rallies and marches.

Since the proposals for the NHS were published in June 2010, the society has raised deep concerns over the implications for the future of the NHS.

It has responded to 14 government consultations, five health select committee inquiries and to both phases of the ‘Listening exercise’ led by the NHS Future Forum.

Intensive lobbying, by the CSP and its members alongside others, secured a shift from the original proposal for GP-led commissioning, to broader clinically-led commissioning, opening the door for a much wider range of clinicians to be involved in commissioning.

Successes too

Successful amendments to the legislation also mean that, while the government will open up the NHS to open-market competition, it will have to proceed with more caution. They also mean the Secretary of State will still be ultimately responsible for the provision of a comprehensive health service.

Attention will now move to the implementation of the reforms, with NHS structures continuing to change.

PCT and SHA clusters will begin to transfer responsibilities over to the new statutory bodies (clinical commissioning groups and others) that are developing in shadow form and aim to take up duties from April 2013.

Mr Gray said the CSP would now build on its existing work to support and equip members in providing solutions to the new commissioners.

‘We must be positive about the contribution physiotherapy can make and to show that physiotherapists are part of the solution,’ he said.

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