Latest news on my Health & Social Care Act FOI request: an attempt to cover a Tory lie

I’ve received a response to my other FOI request, which was to the Dept of Health regarding the creation of the detestable Health & Social Care Act. The response was at least more helpful than the one received from the Cabinet Office. Some of the information I asked for isn’t handled by DH but by the Tory party, and some quite believably will cost more than the statutory £600k. However, one question isn’t satisfactorily answered. Here’s what they wrote:

Our ref: DE00000706787

2) When the principles of the bill were first discussed, by whom and in what context?

The principles were first discussed in the Department of Health in the context of drafting the White Paper – Equality and Excellence, which was published in July 2010.

I asked when the principles of the bill were first discussed, not when the bill was published. This answer is vague – and I suspect deliberately so – and misses the point. A bill as large and complex as the Health & Social Care Bill, which included a wide and complicated consultation process detailed in the answer to one of my other questions, cannot possibly be completed from initial discussions to publishing within 2 months from the coalition coming to power.

And that’s the key issue. The Tories campaigned on a promise that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and David Cameron’s promise that ‘the NHS is safe in my hands‘. If even the bare bones of the Bill were discussed and/or in place before the 2010 General Election, then we are not looking at a situation where the Tories intended one thing and then had to do another. No – it will mean that the Tories campaigned on a deliberate lie, with the intention of getting into power and then implementing their real agenda.

For me, the case is already proven. But as a DH admission of the facts will be full and final proof, I’ve written the following request for review:

Dear Department of Health,

Thank you for your response. Most of the points stated appear reasonable. However, I do not consider my question about when the bill was first discussed to have been adequately answered.

Telling me it was during the creation of the bill that was PUBLISHED in July 2010 doesn’t answer my question. The Coalition came to power in May 2010, and I’m certain a bill of the size and complexity of this one takes much more than 2 months to put together.

I require to know when the need for a bill was first discussed, and when the process of putting it together began. As my initial question – due for a response yesterday – was not properly answered, I wish to receive this information by return, and not in another 20 working days.

Yours faithfully,

Steve Walker

Watch this space…

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