The Efford Bill – all that glitters…

Many thanks to Jenny Shepherd for the following adapted text of her letter to her local MP that points out some of the so far identified issues in Clive Efford’s Bill, as it stands. Clive Efford’s Private Member’s Bill is to be debated in the House of Commons on 21st November. It was only published two weeks before the debate, giving little time to work out what it really says but (according to Jenny) having read it a few times, it is clear to me that it is in need of many amendments – as well as clarification about the Bill’s strange manoeuvrings around EU competition law, NHS contracts and non-NHS contracts.


1) What are the reasons for simultaneously removing the NHS from EU competition law, by repealing S 75 of the 2012 Health & Social Care Act.(Part 3, Section 10); and restoring it to EU competition law, by categorising the NHS as a Service of General Economic Interest? (Part 1, Section 1, Subsection 2 (b))

2) Why does the Bill want to change the definition of an NHS contract so that it allows private providers (a person who is not a health service body) to enter into NHS contracts? (Part 1 Section 6, where the Efford Bill alters Section 9 of the National Health Service Act 2006.)

3) Why does the Bill wants to allow commissioners and providers to be able to enter contracts for the provision of goods or services for the purpose of the health service, without them being NHS contracts? (Part 1, Section 6, Subsections 19 & 20)

4) Is this is in order to allow United Health (or another health maintenance organisation) to take all the contracts for the privatized Commissioning Support Units in 2016, in joint venture contracts with the CSUs, without falling foul of the EU competition law ban on monopoly provision? By virtue of the fact that these would be non-NHS contracts as permitted in Part 1, Section 6, Subsections 19 & 20.


The Efford Bill needs amending so that it:

  • brings back the Sec of Stateʼs duty to provide a comprehensive, universal, equitable health service • categorises the NHS as a non-commercial, non-marketised public service, which, together with the repeal of S75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, would free it from EU competition law and privatisation and protect it from TTIP
  • removes the Sec of Stateʼs power to overrule decisions by NHS commissioners or providers on the grounds that theyʼre anti-competitive
  • replaces the 49% cap on the amount of private income that Trusts & Foundation Trusts can earn, that the Efford Bill would remove

We hope you there will be a general call for the above clarifications and amendments, and that MP’s will not vote for it without these clarifications and amendments – or, even better, those amendments called for by Professor Allysson Pollock in her response to the Efford Bill 



About greatemancipator

Researcher and practioner in matters relating to egovernment, government ICT and their approach to the citizen.
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