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NHS Bill to become law by next week

Following over 12 months of debate, the proposed NHS Bill, which is set to give GPs significant control over the organisation's £106bn budget, was approved in Parliament this week.

Despite last minute attempts by Labour to delay the act by winning a 90-minute emergency debate, on Tuesday night MPs approved changes to the Health and Social Care Bill, which will signal the biggest restructuring in the history of the health service.

Implementation of the the bill is estimated to eventually cost around £4bn, with a target of saving £20bn in spending over four years.

The bill had undergone a series of amendments and last weekend Lib Dem MPs voted against supporting the government's health reforms by 314 votes to 270. However, MPs had previously rejected Dr Charles West's motion to drop the bill. 

The Health and Social Care Bill will now be sent to the Queen for Royal Assent and is expected to become law by next week. 

Health Minister Simon Burns told MPs that the legislation had been "strengthened and improved" by the 25 days it had spent in the hands of peers.

The Royal College of Nursing's (RCN) Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said while the organisation has achieved some concessions to make it a "different piece of legislation from that which first appeared", he warned its real concerns over the future of the NHS have not been heeded.

"We intend to work with trusts, regulators and other bodies [to implement the Health Bill] but our fear is that in the fullness of time this bill will be a cause of significant regret," he said.

Question: Are you glad the Health Bill has passed throgh parliament?