NHS Bill passes key Lords' test

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Controversial NHS reforms have taken a step nearer with the government's Health and Social Care Bill surviving its latest stage in the House of Lords.

A marathon two day long process was preceded yesterday by further warnings and attacks aimed at the government about the Bill's potential consequences from health professionals.

However, peers have rejected proposed amendments to both block the Bill altogether and send it to a special select committee for further scrutiny.

Instead it will follow the usual route and pass to a committee stage in the Lords.

The House of Lords voted 330 to 262 against an amendment which would have referred parts of the bill to a special select committee, with its proposed blocking rejected by 354 votes to 220.

Despite being paused for a nationwide listening exercise during the summer which resulted in several changes being made, the Bill is still facing widespread criticism from a vast number of health workers and representative bodies.

However, as Lord Robert Winston predicted last week, peers felt they did not have the democratic power to block the Bill, despite it having "a hell of a lot wrong with it".

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