THE Health and Social Care Bill returns to the House of Lords and the future of the National Health Service could be in the hands of members of the Upper House.

Although GPs, surgeons, health visitors and other health organisations have warned that the legislation is deeply flawed, ordinary members of the public can see that the proposed restructuring of our health services will not only radically change the nature of the NHS, but will affect the kind of society we will become.

After all the changes to the Bill, we are convinced that the legislation will lead to the fragmentation and privatisation of health care, will increase health inequalities and will destroy an institution which currently binds us all together.

There was no electoral mandate for this top-down and extremely controversial re-organisation and, if it goes ahead, there is real justification for getting very worried about the kind of health care we and our children will receive in the future.

The architects of the health service in post-war Britain established the NHS in response to the very scenarios this legislation will unleash, and we plead with the Prime Minister, Parliamentarians and members of the Upper House to abandon this destructive bill.