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Legislation at Westminster

The BMA regularly represents the views of doctors on behalf of their patients in parliament.

This includes issuing briefings to MPs and peers on subjects relevant to the medical profession and improving health.

 

Parliamentary sessions

  • Session 2017-19

    Data Protection Bill

    The BMA briefed peers ahead of the Data Protection Bill’s second reading. We have concerns that the Bill will give the Government a new fast-track power to change the law on how health data are shared, with minimal scrutiny or overnight. We have urged peers to seek clarification about the scope of clause 15’s new power, and its potential impact on medial confidentiality.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

    The BMA has briefed MPs ahead of the ‘Repeal Bill’s’ Second Reading in the House of Commons. Health services across the UK face a range of challenges as a result of Brexit and so it is vital that the government puts measures in place that provide stability to essential health services, patients, and the NHS workforce when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

    Read the BMA briefing

  • Session 2016-17

    Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill

    The BMA has urged peers not to support this Bill, which would remove the existing provision within the Abortion Act 1967 to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of serious fetal abnormality.

    Read the briefing

     

    Bread and Flour Regulations (Folic Acid) Bill

    The BMA called on MPs to support this Bill, following its successful passage through the House of Lords. The Bill would require flour to be fortified with folic acid (vitamin B9), which we believe is an important and cost-effective public health measure to reduce the risk of common birth defects occurring during pregnancy.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Digital Economy Bill

    The BMA is concerned that the Bill, in particular clause 31, could enable an unprecedented and inappropriate sharing of confidential health information. We have consistently raised these concerns throughout the Bill’s passage in Parliament.

    Patients must be able to have trust in the confidential nature of the health service, and feel confident in sharing sensitive information with healthcare professionals – we have urged parliamentarians to amend the Bill to ensure all existing patient confidentiality safeguards are upheld.

    Read the briefing

     

    Higher Education and Research Bill

    The BMA responded to the Public Bill Committee to outline our concerns that the Bill will create competition between higher education providers and highlight the danger of linking tuition fees to the Teaching Excellence Framework. We also emphasised the need to promote medical research and to ensure that the best education is provided to medical students.

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill

    The BMA supports the Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill. We believe that health and social care organisations should have an obligation to report on the actions they have taken to ensure they are operating in an ethical way and report on how they address labour standards in supply chains.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Policing and Crime Bill

    The BMA briefed both MPs and peers as the Bill passed through the House of Commons and into the House of Lords, where it is currently at its committee stage. Overall the BMA welcomes the aim of the Policing and Crime Bill to better support and meet the needs of vulnerable people in times of mental health crisis, but believes there is still more to be done to achieve true parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Trade Union Act - Important Public Services (Health) Regulations 2017

    The BMA has briefed peers ahead of a debate on the Important Public Services (Health) Regulations 2017 which stand as part of the Trade Union Act.

    Read the BMA briefing

  • Session 2015-16

    Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Act 2016

    The Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Act 2016 has received Royal Assent. The BMA briefed at each stage of its consideration in Parliament.

    Read the BMA final briefing on the Bill

      

    Access to Palliative Care Bill

    The BMA briefed parliamentarians on the Access to Palliative Care 2015-2016 Bill which was tabled by former BMA president Baroness Finlay. We believe high-quality palliative care should be consistently and widely available for those who need it, which is unfortunately not always the case.

    The bill seeks to address this concern around equitable access, and to improve standards in education, training and research. Unfortunately the Bill did not have time to complete its progress in the 2015-2016 parliament, and was subsequently reintroduced in the 2016-2017 parliamentary session. The BMA continues to support this bill as it awaits its second reading in the House of Lords. 

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Armed Forces Act

    The BMA briefed peers through all stages of the Armed Forces Bill, specifically ensuring that an amendment was debated on creating an obligation for government to have regard to parity of esteem between mental health and physical health in the Armed Forces Covenant. The Bill received Royal Ascent to become the Armed Forces Act in May 2016.

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Assisted Dying Bill

    The BMA briefed parliamentarians on the 2015-2016 Bill, which did not have time to complete its journey through parliament during the 2015-2016 session. The Bill was reintroduced in the 2016-2017 session and awaits its second reading. The BMA will continue to brief parliamentarians.

    The BMA firmly opposes assisted dying in all its forms and supports the current legal framework, which allows for compassionate and ethical end-of-life care. We believe that the law should not be changed to permit assisted dying.

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016

    The BMA briefed parliamentarians on the Bill as it progressed through parliament. Specifically we lobbied for clauses to prevent the removal of the duties of the Secretary of State for Health within areas which opt for devolution. The Bill received Royal Ascent becoming the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act in January 2016.

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Immigration Act

    The BMA briefed MPs on the Immigration Bill as it progressed through parliament, raising concerns regarding measures to introduce language requirements for public sector workers and the immigration skills charge.

    The BMA believes that employers must have the capacity to recruit and retain overseas doctors where other solutions to staffing have been unsuccessful and where a clear workforce need exists. Consequently, the immigration system must remain flexible enough to recruit doctors from outside the UK should the resident workforce be unable to fulfil this. The Bill received Royal Ascent in May 2016 and became the Immigration Act.

    Read the BMA briefing

      

    Off-patent Drugs Bill (withdrawn)

    The BMA briefed MPs ahead of the second reading in the Commons of the Off-patent Drugs Bill. The bill would have provided a route to market for off-patent drugs when used for a new indication, or treatment for a different condition.

    The BMA supported this bill, which was withdrawn at the end of the parliamentary session, and will not progress any further. The BMA continues to support the aims of the Bill to increase appropriate off label prescribing which cannot be achieved under the current guidance. 

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Trade Union Act

    The BMA briefed parliamentarians against the Bill as an 'unnecessary and inappropriate' piece of legislation. The Bill received Royal Ascent in May 2016.

    Read the BMA briefing

    Read our response to the bill

  • Session 2014-15

    Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015

    The Criminal Justice and Courts Act made a number of series of wide ranging reforms to the criminal justice. The legislation introduced a new statutory offence of wilful neglect, meaning healthcare professionals could face criminal sanctions for mistreating patients.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015

    The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act makes provision about the safety of health and social care services in England. The BMA briefed during the Act’s passage through Parliament.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Medical Innovation Bill 2015

    The BMA briefed against this Private Members’ Bill despite welcoming the sentiments behind it. We believed the legislation was unnecessary and there was no need to change the law.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Modern Slavery Act 2015

    The BMA briefed throughout the passage of the Modern Slavery Act and lobbied for the inclusion and retention of clauses within the Act which would legislate for transparency in supply chains.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill

    This Private Members’ Bill attempted to reverse some of the changes brought about by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The bill aimed to provide clearer ministerial accountability for the NHS and to limit the role of competition.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Serious Crime Act

    The BMA briefed parliamentarians after amendments were tabled to the bill relating to sex-selective abortion and female genital mutilation.

    Read the BMA briefing

     

    Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

    The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act includes provision to prevent highly paid public sector employees from keeping redundancy payments when they return to work in the public sector within a short period of time.

    Read the BMA briefing