It’s been a little while since we’ve posted, I hope you haven’t missed us too much. Big Society NHS members have been a little distracted by studying for finals, moving across the country to start new jobs and such, but never fear like David Cameron hot footing it to Downing Street from Cornwall – we’re back and ready for action.
So where are we now? There are many steps to be taken between the devastating law being proposed and it becoming an Act of Parliament as this handy graphic from the Government’s website shows.
The Health and Social Care Bill has passed the first and second readings, and also the ‘committee stage’. It is scheduled to hit the ‘report stage’ on the 6th of September and it is likely that it won’t be long until it reaches the House of Lords. As such many groups feel that the Lords are where we should focus our campaigning efforts as there is significant opportunity for amendments to be made. As such, the Trade Union Congress – the TUC which includes UNITE, UNISON and many other unions of health workers, although not the BMA – has started a campaign which we think provides a real way of making a difference. See their website here.
Much like the successful UKYCC’s ‘Adopt an MP’ campaign, the TUC suggest that you adopt a Peer, in order that you can lobby that one person and hopefully build some kind of relationship and rapport with them. As Peers don’t have constituents, we often don’t think of contacting them, but they can have a real impact on the content and success of proposed legislation.
It takes just a few minutes to adopt your very own peer, you simply fill in your email here and the TUC will randomly assign you a peer and email you their details. I did this last night and was assigned Baroness Elizabeth Smith, widow of the late Labour leader John Smith. I have written her a letter today outlining my criticisms of the proposed Health and Social Care Bill and imploring her to protect our NHS. I popped it in my postbox this morning and will let you know when I have a reply.
There are over 700 peers in our bounteous House of Lords, so we need as many people as possible to get on board with this campaign and adopt a Peer – it’s much easier than adopting a baby, or even a puppy, a few clicks and you’re ready to go! So adopt a Peer today.