The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has written to members of the House of Lords asking them to support the suggested amends to the Health Bill.

Currently, the RCM is concerned about a number of proposals put forward in the Bill, but support any of the amends proposed by Lord Owen and Lord Hennessey, including the desire to secure more scrutiny.

The RCM general secretary, Cathy Warwick, said: "We hold significant reservations about the Health and Social Care Bill. We remain far from convinced that the Bill in its current form will enable the NHS to progress for the benefit of patients.

"An area of major concern for us is the future accountability of the Secretary of State for the performance of the NHS. In its current form, the Bill will effectively absolve the Health Secretary of responsibility for the NHS; that cannot be right. The NHS is unique because it is a publicly run service and consumes a considerable amount of taxpayers' money. It is wrong to propose, as the Bill does, to remove the Secretary of State from the chain of accountability.

"We also share with others a similar concern about the level of competition this could bring into the NHS. The Bill could introduce competition into the NHS without public recourse to democratic oversight by elected politicians; again, this cannot be right."

Posted by Robert Mair