We no longer call it the Health and Social Care Bill - it is now the Health and Social Care Act. The Queen used her signature to make it law on 27th March 2012.
For many of us campaigning against the Health Bill this was a day we hoped we would never see. We fought for over 18 months to highlight all the dangers in the Bill to the NHS. During the last few months the legislation looked in increasing danger with many more groups opposing the Bill. But the political numbers were against us - with the support of the Liberal Democrats (in the Lords and the Commons) the Bill became law - without LibDem support the Bill would have fallen.
So we must ask - what next?
Many of us will continue the fight. In fact we will redouble our efforts. We will continue to highlight all the dangers to the NHS that will come about under this Act. We want to promote a fair NHS for all and we wish to see an NHS restored after the next election to one without enormous commercial influence.
There are doctors keen to stand for Parliament in order to have more influence. Given the recent shock by-election victory for George Galloway it would follow that a doctor standing for Parliament also has a very good chance of being elected. The Conservatives are already a little twitched by it. Even before the new party has been launched the Tory polling put the 'NHS party' on 18% - with the LibDems on 9%. Quite amazing.
It is important we continue to fight and oppose the Health and Social Care Act. Some wish to 'make the most of it' or 'work with it'. I disagree. We must of course do the best for our patients and many also believe we should show how bad this law is for the NHS and patient care and ensure we work to reverse all the damaging effects that will come about under the new Act. There will soon be a way for doctors and patients to report - via a website - worrying changes going on in the NHS in order to highlight and document them. This is so that we can show how the NHS is heading in the wrong direction by pandering to the commercial sector and opening up healthcare to big business.