As the NHS reforms look set to enter their final stages in Parliament, a group of campaigners opposed to Andrew Lansley's Bill are making a last-ditch attempt to stop him.. by appealing to the Queen for help.
An alliance of protestors, led by a group called Keep Our NHS Public, have written to Her Majesty on Friday, arguing that she did not outline the reforms in her speech when she opened parliament shortly after the last general election.
The campaigners aren't releasing the full text of their letter to the Queen, apparently because "the signatories feel this would be discourteous to Her Majesty."
However it's thought they will point out the multitude of groups who have signalled their opposition to all or parts of the Health and Social Care Bill, including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Midwives.
They will urge the Queen to withhold her Royal Assent to the Health and Social Care Bill, in the likely event that it clears Parliament later this month.
Dr. Peter Fisher, President of the NHS Consultants’ Association, said: “The public never voted for this reorganisation. Normal democratic processes have been flouted, and by withholding her Royal Assent the Queen would reflect the wishes of the majority of her subjects to save the National Health Service from which they have benefitted so much throughout the sixty years of her reign.
"It would be a wonderful gift to her people in this her Diamond Jubilee year.”
Needless to say the Queen has never vetoed a piece of government legislation during her 60-year reign, and is highly unlikely to do so now. It's also unlikely that Buckingham Palace will comment on the matter.
On Monday the Bill has its third reading in the House of Lords, where a last-ditch attempt will be made by Lord Owen to introduce a further amendment. The crossbench peer and former SDP leader wants to see the NHS Risk Register published before the Bill clears the Lords.
The register outlines the possible effects Andrew Lansley's reforms would have on the day-to-day running of the NHS. The government has refused to publish the document, despite repeated calls by both the Information Commissioner and more recently an appeal tribunal to publish it.
The latest call for it to be revealed came on the 9th of March, when the appeal tribunal ruled against the government. Ministers are stil refusing to publish the document.
If the Bill clears the Lords on Monday, it will return to the Commons on Tuesday for MPs to consider the amendments made in the upper house. Most of these have been agreed by the government, but two changes were defeats for the coalition. One of these came quite early in the lengthy consideration of the Bill by the Lords, and call on ministers to place provision for mental health on an equal footing with physical health.
Apart from this amendment, the Bill has survived the Lords relatively unscathed, with most of the other amendments having the support of ministers.
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