WHILE readers may be aware of threats to the NHS posed by the Coalition Government, in particular the Health and Social Care Act 2012, they may not be aware that Lord Owen has registered in Parliament the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill.

This Bill does not require a “top-down reorganisation” but does reinstate the legal basis for a democratic, accountable, free at point-of-use and comprehensive health service.

Specifically, the bill will reinstate the Secretary of State’s duty to provide health services that was formerly contained within sections 1 and 3 of the NHS Act 2006; Subject all NHS bodies and bodies providing services for the NHS to ministerial direction and repeal the duty of autonomy and restore sufficient ministerial control over provision consistent with the Secretary of State’s overarching duty to provide health services to the whole of England.

The democratic and legal basis for the NHS in England is abolished by the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act.

This fundamental change which ends the legal basis of the NHS as a free and comprehensive service is already being felt, ahead of the shift to the new market system in April.

But this issue is far from over and the Defend The NHS York group among others in the region and nationally is pleased to welcome Lord Owen’s action.

Dr Mick Phythian, Monkton Road, York.