Government Defeat in the Lords (National Health Service Regulations 2017)

The September 6th the Lords defeated an amendment to the Regulations. This amendment would remove the statements requiring NHS England to treat patients within 18 weeks of referral, 92% of the time. Instead, the Lord’s asked the government to publish the legal advice they had sought in making this amendment. The Conservative Peers consistently voted for passing the amendment, while all labour and Liberal Democrat peers voted in favour of blocking.

This amendment seemed to be a ‘Get out of jail free’ card being played by the government. It was only a matter of weeks later, where it was announced that NHS England had met none of its targets in the year 2016-17, and this is what was expected by the government.

One of the lords main roles is to keep the government accountable to what it does. This is a key example of them doing it and thus preventing the government going back on its promise of a short referral time. I think most people would agree that the government should work on reducing waiting times, rather than making it okay to have extra long referral periods. Many would agree that the NHS is in crisis, but measures like this continue to ensure that the NHS has a goal to attempt to reach, and will hopefully lead the government to see what is expected of them.