The Government has now suffered the humiliation of a former Department of Health permanent secretary and NHS Chief Executive labelling this Bill a mess that risks setting the NHS back.
It's clear that this is now just about saving face for David Cameron and Nick Clegg, not what's best for the NHS. They are forcing onto the statute book a busted flush of a Bill despite clear warnings from patients and professionals that it will damage the NHS. Only today 25 charities have warned that it will leave vulnerable patients in 'no man's land'.
David Cameron has been clear that it's about more competition. Nick Clegg claims to want more cooperation. These two positions cannot be reconciled. Clegg needs to decide where he stands; with the millions of staff, patients and members of the public who oppose this Bill or with the Conservative Party, who want to turn our NHS staff into a market?
Last week the President of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, admitted the Bill should've been dropped but they clearly haven't got the guts to say what needs to be said to David Cameron's face.
The Lib Dems have supported this damaging Bill every step of the way in Parliament. They have had their chance and it's just not good enough to be promising yet more amendments. That time has passed; this Bill is unamendable. It is time for the Lib Dems to get off the fence and decide where they stand.
Lord Crisp's comments today on BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend in response to Shaun Ley;
SL: What do you make of this bill then?
NC: I think it is a mess, is my straight forward view of it. I think it is unnecessary in many ways, and I think it misses the point. The point is that it should be setting out the direction of travel of the NHS, which is more community, more prevention based and it should identify the sort of mechanisms for using that which would obviously include some competition, some use of the private sector, but much greater emphasis I would have seen on integration and on planning and getting the balance right and I think it is confused and confusing and I think it is unfortunately setting the NHS back.