Unite has today (7 December) written to all Peers urging them to oppose the Health and Care Bill, which has its second reading in the House of Lords today. The letter sets out Unite's concerns about the Bill, dubbed the NHS "Privatisation Bill", and urges Peers to "protect our NHS".


The letter also sets out a series of amendments that the Lords should make to address the worst aspects of the Bill, including ensuring that NHS suppliers/providers are the default providers of NHS services.


The letter in full:


To all UK Peers, 


We urge you to consider the following points and read our briefing on the Health and Care Bill that you will discuss at Second Reading today.


We are still in the middle of a pandemic and our Health and Care staff are exhausted. A failure in planning and over a decade of chronic underfunding has led to acute staff shortages and unacceptable waiting times. The crisis in the NHS is being made worse by the Government’s failure to address the crisis in social care and the regressive introduction of the social care cap.


Measures contained within this Bill have serious implications for staff and patients. The Bill is profoundly flawed and the Government has failed to set out clearly what the changes in the Bill will mean for patients and NHS staff.


The Health and Care Bill is, at its core, a privatising Bill that opens the NHS up to take-over by big business and allows cronyism and corruption in the commissioning process – not just by allowing private companies to sit on NHS boards and make decisions about the care we receive.


The Bill removes accountability and transparency without making the NHS the default provider of our services​.


The Bill is now in your hands and Peers can protect our NHS.


Unite would welcome amendments to achieve the following aims and invite you to a briefing to discuss them on Monday 10th January at 1:30pm – please RSVP and we will confirm whether this can go ahead in person or on Zoom nearer the time.


Amendments to address some of the worst aspects of the Bill should be pursued, but nonetheless the Bill should be opposed in its entirety.


Unite would welcome and support amendments that:


1. Ensure NHS suppliers/providers are default providers of NHS services

2. Ensure ICBs and ICPs are made up wholly of representatives of public sector organisations, with the exception of GPs

3. Ensure ICBs can only delegate functions to statutory NHS bodies

4. Ensure NHS professions cannot be removed from regulation and that regulatory bodies cannot be abolished

5. Ensure people receive their social care needs assessments before they leave hospital

6. Address the regressive impact of the social care cap

7. Ensure people in England can receive treatment in any part of the country, ensuring no postcode lottery and that any suggestions of A&Es turning people away because they live in the ‘wrong’ postcode are removed

8. Ensure this Bill does not undermine the scope of national collective bargaining and health workers‘ access to Agenda for Change rates of pay, T&Cs and NHS Pensions.