Last month saw the government publish the revised NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No 2) Regulation 2013. These regulations revoke the version published on 13 February which prompted concerns that the government had reneged on its assurances given by ministers during the passage of the Bill through Parliament that commissioners would be free to decide which services to tender. (Please see earlier blogs dated 22 February and 14 March 2013 for more information).

We now learn that the House of Lords is debating these same regulations on Wednesday 22 April in a motion, which if passed, will lead to their annulment.

So what would be the effect of any such annulment? Well, as the No 2 regulations revoked the earlier NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No 1) Regulation 2013, the effect would appear to be that the initial version of these controversial regulations would be reinstated!

As the motion calls for the regulations to be annulled “on the grounds that they do not implement the assurances given by ministers”, it seems ludicrous that the effect of the annulment will be to reinstate the earlier version of the regulations (the subject to the same criticism), which, due to the lapse of time, can now no longer be revoked by the House of Lords!

Perhaps the principal intention of this motion is to bring these regulations to wider public attention and pressurise the government to make more changes.