After days of incessant pounding by critics and opponents the Government brushed itself down today and published its Health and Social Care Bill. The text of the legislation can be found on the parliament website.
It is a titanic Bill – 353 pages, 137 clauses, 22 schedules long – and the vagaries of our parliamentary system will likely mean that some parts will not get so much as a nod and a wink. Indeed, so vast are the changes afoot that the Department of Health has set up a new channel to help us all find our way around the reforms (not sure if it’s on Virgin Media yet).
However, a visit to the House of Lords today, understandably flush after their all-nighter this week, suggested that they are in no mood to let anything go through without significant challenge and a good deal of probing. But they will need some help for sure, legislation is often more like a surrealist painting than cutaway drawing – the closer you get, the less you see.
A quick flick through from a medical research standpoint suggests people might want to look at Clauses 13H and 13I and associated schedules which place a duty on the NHS Commissioning Board to promote innovation and research.
Good luck with it! More later.