NHS Confederation responds to Health and Care Bill amendments passed in the House of Lords

Members of the House of Lords have successfully passed a number of amendments to the Health and Care Bill.

Amendment 80, tabled by Baroness Cumberlege and passed by peers (171 votes to 119), will require the Government to publish independently verified assessments every two years of current and future workforce numbers required to deliver care to the population in England.

Amendment 84, tabled by Baroness Thornton and passed by peers (145 votes to 122) will remove from the Health and Care Bill new powers for the Secretary of State to intervene in local NHS service changes.

These amendments may be overturned by MPs once the Health and Care Bill returns from the House of Lords to the House of Commons.

Responding to the House of Lords’ votes in favour of the amendments, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The additional powers for the Secretary of State proposed by the Government in its Health and Care Bill would have threatened local NHS leaders’ efforts to improve services for their local populations. Having called for these measures to be scrapped alongside our partners, our members will be grateful the House of Lords has voted for these powers to be removed.

“NHS leaders now hope that when the Bill returns to the House of Commons, the Government does not make an unwise and regrettable choice to have these powers reinserted.

“This move would risk future decisions within local NHS systems being both influenced by perverse political incentives and slowed by needless bureaucracy. Allowing local leaders to lead, as Lords have chosen, would be more in line with the Bill’s ambitions to improve and integrate NHS services for all.

“Our members also strongly welcome the House of Lords’ vote to ensure the Bill mandates regular and independent assessments of the numbers of staff needed across the NHS and social care over the coming years.

“Long-term workforce planning is vital for the resilience and success of all organisations. This is especially the case in the NHS, where exhausted staff are in desperate need of reinforcements as they endeavour to tackle the post-pandemic treatment backlog and cope with the rising demand resulting from an ageing population.”