House of Lords Debate on the Care Bill

Lord Owen puts forward an amendment to seek statutory underpinning of the Oversight Panel in relation to the use of confidential information in health and adult social care.

To read the full amendment please click here

Debate on The Future of NHS Funding

Debate in The House of Lords, Thursday 11 July, 2013

Lord Owen: My Lords, following on from what the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said, one of the strengths of what was initially introduced as an internal market was that it would be able to show people the costs of healthcare in a far more systematic way than hitherto. In my view, it is a tragedy that the internal market has been changed into an external market, and we have lost the growing acceptance of people in explaining—particularly doctors and those who make financial decisions in the health service—what it costs…

To read the full debate please click here

Our NHS Press Release

Lord Owen Condemns  “Conspiracy of Silence” on EU US Trade Deal

Press Release Thursday 16 May 2013

Introducing his NHS Bill (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill Lord Owen calls today for transparency from Prime Minister David Cameron over the secret mandate for the EU-US Trade Negotiations which he hopes to boost at the G8 Summit in five weeks time in Northern Ireland…

To read the full press release including links to notes on the NHS bill please click here

House of Lords Second Legislation Scrutiny Committee Report Out Today

To read the full House of Lords Second Legislation Scrutiny Committee Report please click here

Note: Please refer to Instrument C: National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013 pp 6 of 33 to 12 of 33 and the conclusion on p 12 of 33.


Lord Owen comments below on the Scrutiny Committee Report (NHS Regulations: Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition, 2013) published today, 21 March 2013:

“It is short succinct and devastating and deserves to be read in full by all concerned with the new NHS legislation. People will at last recognise that with indecent haste the Government has neither consulted properly on this secondary legislation,  nor fulfilled it’s promises made during the passage of the primary legislation
Most seriously of all the wording is unclear, confusing and will create conflicting interpretations. At the minimum both regulations should now be withdrawn or annulled.
There is no hurry CCGs have no need to start in April and the process is now very likely to go to judicial review and may well need to go to judges for a formal Declaration on what some wording actually means.”

Letter from Lord Owen to Clerk of The Lords Secondary Legislation Committee re Section 75 Regulations

Letter from Lord Owen to The Clerk of the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, 4 March 2013

Dear Clerk

Further to my email of 22 February I have now seen a recent letter that Earl Howe has sent to his colleagues in the House of Lords. The letter states that the Section 75 Regulations “enshrine the principle that it is Commissioners who are best placed to determine requirements for improving services and to decide which provider or providers are best able to deliver those requirements.” What the letter does not state is that in making these decisions, Commissioners must abide by all of the Regulations and any failure to do so will be investigated and remedied by Monitor. It was because of our concern over this ambiguity and potential conflict that we attached importance to Earl Howe’s commitment in the House of Lords when he said, “This will be made absolutely clear through secondary legislation and supporting guidance as a result of this Bill’…

To read the full letter please click here


Lord Owen calls for withdrawal of Statutory Instruments relating to Health and Social Care Act

Letter from Lord Owen to The Clerk of the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, 22 February 2013

“Dear Clerk

I gather that the Statutory Instrument related to the Health & Social Care Act will be going to the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee on 5th March and you need to be told about the significance of this legislation.  In my view the most important aspect of the Regulations relates to the commitment given in the House of Lords by Earl Howe during the passage of the Bill  when he said “Clinicians will be free to commission services in the way they consider best.
We intend to make it clear that commissioners will have a full range of options and that they will be be under no legal obligation to create new markets, particularly where competition would not be effective in driving high standards and value for patients. This will be made absolutely clear through secondary legislation and supporting guidance as a result of this Bill.”

When I heard him make this statement I assumed, as I think everyone else in the Lords at the time must have assumed, that this pledge would be incorporated within the Regulations. I was extremely disturbed to find that it was not. The mood of the House over competition policy and particularly the commissioning process was that more should have been included on the face of the Bill but with the commitment to include what was seen as concessions in the Regulation I was ready, somewhat reluctantly, for the matter to be dealt with in secondary legislation. It is my view that this legislation should be withdrawn until this pledge by Earl Howe and the pledge by the then Secretary of State Andrew Lansley given in February 2012 to the CCGs is specifically included.

I note that a petition to this effect has been set in motion by 38 Degrees and I have signed it.

Professional Flaws by Lord David Owen

Article by Lord Owen, February 2013

The flaws in the structure in the NHS in England go deeper than just the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which I hope might be corrected after the next General Election through the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill which I presented in the House of Lords on 28 January 2013. Many conclusions meanwhile will be drawn from the Francis Report, but one question needs to be asked by the caring professions, namely, why was the professional voice of the Royal Colleges not heard loud and clear about the erosion of professional standards in the NHS in England?

To read the full article please click here

My plan to save the NHS – in the nick of time

Article by Lord Owen published in The Guardian 28 January 2012

All is not lost. We can still shield our health service from the ravages of a full-blooded external market

As I watched the National Health Service celebrated through hospital beds and patients in Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony my spirits lifted suddenly, replacing the despair I felt at the passing of the Health and Social Care Act. I could see a way to reinstate the essential legal and democratic basis for the NHS in England by drawing up a short bill to focus a cross-party campaign on restoring the health secretary’s duty to promote and provide as well as secure a comprehensive, integrated health service – while avoiding another unwanted “top down reorganisation”.

To read the full article please click here


To read the full National Health Service Bill (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill click here

To read the National Health Services Bill Explanatory Notes click here