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Government Indicted For Behaviour Over HSC Bill And Looses Attempt To Hide NHS Risk Register

RIP NHSAs expected the Information Tribunal have today published their ruling with regard to the publication of the NHS Transitional Risk Register which was the subject of bitter political argument in Parliament and anger of the public who clearly saw the games and lies being perpetrated by the Con-Dem(ned) coalition government in its aim to privatise the NHS via the Health and Social Care Bill.

The bill became law on 27th March when gaining the Royal Assent and is now the Health and Social Care Act.

The court’s judgement is both truly unprecedented and a devastating indictment of the Tory lead Coalition government’s abuse of the democratic process. The judges unanimously ruled the Tory government should release the full contents of the NHS Transitional Risk Register.

The decision wording is: "The Appellant is required to disclose the Transitional Risk Register to the Second Respondent, with the name of the author of the document redacted, within 30 days of the date of this decision."

This of course follows the original instruction given by the Information Commissioner that Andrew Lansley should publish the NHS Transitional Risk Register. this would have made it available to all MPs prior to the debates on the Health And Social Care Bill.

David Cameron cynically hid his plans to privatise the NHS made prior to the 2010 election. They were in fact concocted well before then, in 2004 according to this statement from Tory MP Oliver Letwin:

Back in June 2011 the Labour MP & former Shadow Health Secretary John Healey made the original request for Andrew Lansley to publish the NHS Transitional Risk Register, in order for the full facts to be known about the affects the Health And Care Services Bill would have on the NHS; before the debates in parliament.

Paragraph 85 makes it clear that the Conservative Party, in the way in which they went about making the Health And Care Services Bill law, lied to and betrayed the trust of voters.

The exact wording of paragraph 85 is shown below.

“From the evidence it is clear that the NHS reforms were introduced in an exceptional way. There was no indication prior to the White Paper that such wide-ranging reforms were being considered.

The White Paper was published without prior consultation. It was published within a very short period after the Coalition Government came into power. It was unexpected. Consultation took place afterwards over what appears to us a very short period considering the extent of the proposed reforms.

Click to download full decision documentThe consultation hardly changed policy but dealt largely with implementation. Even more significantly the Government decided to press ahead with some of the policies even before laying a Bill before Parliament.

The whole process had to be paused because of the general alarm at what was happening”

John Healy MP's website today carried the following statement:

The Information Commissioner’s judgements follow FoI requests made by John Healey MP in November 2010 and the Evening Standard in February 2011, respectively.
Today the Tribunal released its full decision and reasons.
Mr Healey said:
"This legal judgement explains why the public have the right to know the risks the Government is running with our NHS and how ministers are managing them."
"The Government has lost twice in law trying to keep the NHS risk register secret and ministers must now release it, as the court says they should have done 16 months ago."
What was the Health Bill is now law but the risks of the Government's huge NHS reorganisation remain.
"The Government used its big guns to defend its refusal to publish the risk register and this legal judgement demolishes their case for secrecy. However long the government fight to delay release, this court case will become an FoI landmark and in the long run Ministers will have to disclose more risk details on major policy changes to the public and Parliament."
The Information Rights Tribunal is a special court that sits to hear Freedom of Information appeal cases.

Source: Dr Éoin Clarke (PhD) / Twitter / John Healey MP

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