Clauses 27, 28, 30, 33, 37, 40, 43, 46 and 48 were debated. Committee stage continues on Wednesday 7 December.
Other amendments discussed included requirements for the Director of Public Health – under the Bill the role will move from the NHS to local authorities, and a proposal for a new clause establishing local NHS commissioning boards with oversight of the strategic direction of clinical commissioning groups in their areas.
Amendment 236A, moved by former health minister, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, would have delayed the abolition of SHAs until the Secretary of State for Health was satisfied that successor bodies, the National Commissioning Board and the CCGs, had taken over their functions.
Members of the Lords contributing to debate on the amendment included Baroness Murphy, a former SHA chair; former health ministers Lord Mahwinney, Lord Newton of Braintree and Lord Warner, who was also a member of the Dilnot Commission on the funding of social care; Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, physician; and Lord Walton of Detchant, a former chair of the British Medical Association.
Seeking a test the opinion of the House – vote on his amendment – Lord Hunt said the Government could have asked PCTs ‘divest themselves of the service that they ran’ and given more responsibility to GPs. ‘Instead of SHAs and PCTs, we have a much more complex structure, with clinical commissioning groups, health and well-being boards, senates, the NHS Commissioning Board and their field offices as well, not a streamlined approach that will deal with all the problems of the NHS,’ he said.
The House of Lords voted against the amendment by 202 votes to 170 – a defeat by 32 votes.
About the Bill
The Health and Social Care Bill, which aims to modernise the NHS:
- changes how NHS care is commissioned through the greater involvement of clinicians and a new NHS Commissioning Board
- introduces new mechanisms to improve accountability
- empowers patients to increase their voice and involvement in their care
- gives NHS providers new freedoms to improve quality of care
- establishes a provider regulator to promote efficiency.
In addition, the Bill will underpin the creation of Public Health England, a new integrated national public health organisation, which will support the provision of local services and take forward measures to reform health public bodies.
Committee stage: line by line examination
The Bill is scheduled to receive 14 days of committee stage scrutiny in the House of Lords.
Second reading: main debate on the Bill
Two of the largest House of Lords votes for over a decade took place during the second reading – debate on the main principles of the Bill – which took place over two days with 102 Members of the Lords taking part – on 12 and 13 October.
Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the Bill takes place during committee stage. Any Member of the Lords can table amendments to make changes to the Bill.
Amendments can allow the House of Lords to make revisions to Government Bills (plans for laws). Members of the Lords, often with specialist knowledge or experience of the subject, submit amendments to explore possible effects of the planned law and the policy that lies behind it.