Since Guido published Stephen Phillips damning tirade against 38 Degrees this morning, another MP – Guy Opperman – has waded into the debate. He too is a former barrister and provides another comprehensive take-down of the deceitful misinterpretation of legal advice that the astro-turfing group are using to attack NHS reforms:
“The 38 Degrees website says: What our lawyers have identified within the Health and Social Care Bill:
“The bill will remove the duty of the Secretary of State to provide or secure the provision of health services which has been a common and critical feature of all previous NHS legislation since 1946.
The implication and actual stated paragraph on the site under the title “what this could all mean” is that there will “no longer be a National Health Service”.
Paragraph 2 of the opinion by another junior counsel states that “Currently, the duty in section 3(1) has been delegated to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). However, this is pursuant to statutory powers of delegation (for example under section 7 of the NHS Act 2006), and these powers can be exercised in a different way, or not exercised at all, if the Secretary of State so chooses.”
As the opinion makes clear there is going to be no significant change.
The 38 Degrees slant and their opinion simply do not match up. The opinion finishes by saying: “thus, there is no change at all in section 1(1).”
To argue that the “the government washes its hands of the NHS” based upon and arising out of these opinions would be laughable if it was not such a serious and flawed accusation. It is unsurprising that one barrister has not signed or acknowledged authorship of their opinion, given how it has been so abused. “
Guido is awaiting comment from 38 Degrees who haven’t returned his call yet. And this is all a bit embarrassing for “evidence based” blog Left Foot Forward, who rather than look at the facts, decide to reprint 38 Degree’s copy to attack Guido. Counsel’s advice is they’re all full of it…