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In total there are 141 Peers that have these connections, representing 17% of the total. The Conservatives who created the bill and in many quarters want to see the NHS dismantled had over a quarter of their members with these self-interests. This is intolerable. In addition to this the Liberal Democrats who have allowed this bill to go through have one in ten with these interests. This may well be the least, but none of them should have been allowed to vote. However the self-interest is across the board with one in six Crossbench peers and one in six Labour peers having these interests. This means we must watch them if they get back into power in case they try and water down any repeal.
When we look into more detail, as I did for Virginia Bottomley and Lord Chadlington the behaviour and the clear conflict becomes apparent.
Conservatives: 1 in 4 – see full list
Liberal Democrats: 1 in 10 – see full list
Labour: 1 in 6 – see full list
Crossbench: 1 in 6 – see full list
The BMA, and the many organisations across the health sector which later joined us, may not have achieved the ultimate aim of getting the Bill withdrawn, but we still had a significant impact.
From the very beginning, we lobbied MPs and Peers, engaged with other medical organisations and ensured that our members' concerns had a high public profile. From our early position of "critical engagement", where we sought to try to ensure that any potentially positive aspects of the reforms could be achieved in the most effective and least disruptive way, through to our call at our Special Representatives Meeting back in March 2011 for the Bill to be withdrawn or substantially amended, and even up to the final stages of the Bill's passage through Parliament - when we were calling for the Bill to be dropped - we achieved some positive movement.
In April 2011 the Government, mindful of the professions' concerns, was forced to pause the legislative process, create the Future Forum and "listen" - an event unprecedented in parliamentary history. On your behalf, we successfully lobbied for amendments...
The Bill that has just passed has been subject to well over 1000 amendments, but I accept this was not enough and it would still be much better not to have had the Bill in the first place. The legislation is flawed; at its core, even with amendments, it places too much emphasis on market forces and risks greater fragmentation of our health service. I believe it was right to have spoken loudly and repeatedly about the risks inherent within it.