A ‘prayer motion’ sponsored by Jeremy Corbyn and six other Labour MPs has been tabled in the House of Commons in an attempt to prevent major changes being made to the current legislation on providing GP services without full Parliamentary scrutiny.
The changes are being introduced by the Department of Health and Social Care using Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 – The Amendments Relating to the Provision of Integrated Care Regulations 2019. Changing legislation in this way means that MPs do not get the chance to debate or vote on the legislation.
The changes that will be introduced by the statutory instrument will be part of the new integrated care provider contract that NHS England is due to introduce in 2019 as part of its drive to convert all areas of England to integrated care systems.
The amendments will allow whichever organisation holds one of NHS England’s new integrated care provider contracts to take control over the provision of primary care and directly employ GPs. This means that a single organisation can hold a contract for all health care in an area – hospital, community and primary care. The contract leaves open the chance for private companies to take on the lead role, although a report by the Health Select committee judges that this looks unlikely in practice.
The prayer motion or NHS early day motion (EDM) No. 2103 is the only way to annul the changes before they take effect on 1 April 2019. As of 5 March, the motion had been signed by 30 MPs, with the deadline for signing 24 March 2019.
Campaign groups, including 999 Call for the NHS, are urging people to lobby their MPs to sign the prayer motion, and has produced a template letter to send to MPs. 999 Call for the NHS is continuing its legal action against NHS England over the introduction of the integrated care provider contract.