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The NHS Transition Risk Register

March 21, 2012

The fact that the Health and Social Care Bill has been passed without parliamentarians being able to see the NHS Transition Risk Register surely destroys any pretensions that Britain is (or ever was ) a democracy.

Civil Servants have argued, as they always will, that if a document intended to advise the government on policy were ordered to be published it would mean that such documents in future would not be full and frank. But what does that say about civil servants?  Section 35 of The Freedom of Information Act does provide a qualified of exemption in these cases, but this is subject to a public interest test.

In this case the Information Commissioner ruled that the public interest in disclosure outweighed the argument for not publishing, and the tribunal upheld this decision. The government has the right to appeal, but in the meantime the Bill has been passed.

In my view it is inexcusable that, given the impact of the Bill, parliament (both houses) passed the Bill before the legal argument was settled finally.

My wife and I have no doubt whatever that the next few years will see the principle of universal care free at the point of use will have to be abandoned. As a result we do not expect to receive decent care in our last years and are looking for ways to end our lives painlessly at the appropriate time. We are not alone in this.

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