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Politics Weekly podcast: the future of the NHS

The government’s health and social care bill has reached the report stage in the House of Lords and is likely to be passed into legislation in the coming weeks. But with so many amendments, and months of wrangling in both houses, what will the reforms mean for the NHS?

In the studio, we have Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, our social affairs editor Randeep Ramesh, and Stephen Thornton of the Health Foundation who is also on the board of Monitor, the regulator at the heart of the government’s proposed reforms.

This week Ed Miliband put in a strong performance in the Commons as he taunted the prime minister about the fate of his health secretary. Having promised that there would be “no top-down reorganisation of the NHS”, the prime minister was on the back foot, but assured the house that Andrew Lansley’s career was on surer footing than Miliband’s own. (A less than ringing endorsement, some critics noted).

The bill has been wrestled with for more than 18 months and comes with over a thousand amendments. Now the race is on to get it onto the statute books in time for the Queen’s speech – expected in May. But with 50,000 people petitioning against it and campaigns from GPs, nurses and other health workers, the government has its work cut out.

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