Health and Social Care Bill: Report stage day five update

07 March 2012

The House of Lords continued with detailed line by line examination of the Health and Social Care Bill yesterday (Tuesday 6 March) in the fifth day of report stage. There were five votes all resulting in government wins

Here's a breakdown of the amendments which went to a vote in the House of Lords.

Vote one on Amendment 163AA

Lord Warner (Labour) opened the debate with Amendment 163AA, that went to a vote. In the new clause he suggested placing duty on the Secretary of State to improve the quality of adult social care, protect the most vulnerable and ensure integrated health and social care.

Earl Howe (Conservative) responded on behalf of the government: 'The legal framework for care and support needs fundamental reform.' He argued: 'Specific legislation on social care will be the most appropriate vehicle for debating these critical matters and achieving lasting reform.'

In response to Earl Howe's explanation that a government White Paper will address social care in spring Lord Warner responded: 'Unless you do something quickly about adult social care, you will cause the most terrible financial crisis in the NHS.'

The vote resulted in a government win with 261 votes to 203.

Vote two on Amendment 163BZZA

Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrat) moved Amendment 163BZZA which sought to exempt the health service from some aspects of EU competition law. He explained: 'EU and UK competition law has had some application within the health service for some years now' after Labour's reforms in the 2006 Act. He argued: '...we do not want to see competition law applied universally across the health service so that our health service commissioners and providers are required to operate an entirely market-based NHS without being able to choose where the market and competition should apply and where they should not.'

The House voted with 275 votes against the amendment and 188 for the amendment.

Vote three on Amendment 163 BA

Baroness Thornton (Labour) moved Amendment 163 BA to Clause 60. The majority voted against the amendment to clarify Monitor's duties with 255 votes to 183. The amendment suggested that Monitor will continue its current duties as the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts and 'should not be asked to do two roles: those of the foundation trust regulator and the economic regulator for the NHS.'

Vote four on Amendment 165

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (Crossbench) moved Amendment 165 to Clause 61 addressing Monitor's duty to prevent 'anti-collaborative behaviour in the provision of health care services for the purposes of the NHS.'

The House divided, with 221 votes against the amendment and 171 for the amendment.

Vote five for Amendment 178A

Baroness Thornton's Amendment 178A to Clause 73 led to a vote without discussion which resulted in the fifth government win with 203 votes to 157.

The amendment to Clause 73 which covers 'the requirements as to procurement, patient choice and competition.' The amendment detailed that NHS Commissioners are entitled to undertake a Commissioning Review, seek and consider bodies to provide health care services, and arrange agreements without being considered anti-competitive or subject to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. It also detailed that the NHS Commissioning Board after consulting with Monitor may publish guidance to NHS Commissioners about Commissioning Reviews.

Health and Social Care Bill: Key areas

  • Establishes an independent NHS Board to allocate resources and provide commissioning guidance.
  • Increases GPs’ powers to commission services on behalf of their patients.
  • Strengthens the role of the Care Quality Commission.
  • Develops Monitor, the body that currently regulates NHS foundation trusts, into an economic regulator to oversee aspects of access and competition in the NHS.
  • Cuts the number of health bodies to help meet the government's commitment to cut NHS administration costs by a third, including abolishing Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities.

Catch up on the Health and Social Care Bill so far

The House of Lords Constitution Committee report

The Constitution Committee published a follow-up report calling for changes to the Health and Social Care Bill to ensure that ministerial responsibility to Parliament and legal accountability for the NHS are not diluted.

What is the report stage?

Report stage in the chamber gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to consider all amendments (proposals for change) to a bill. It usually starts at least 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Before report stage takes place

  • The day before report stage starts, amendments are published in a Marshalled List – in which all the amendments are placed in order.
  • On the day, amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list (“groupings of amendments”) is published.

What happens at report stage?

  • Detailed line by line examination of the bill continues.
  • Votes can take place and any member can take part.

After report stage - third reading

  • If the bill is amended it is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments.
  • The bill moves to third reading for the final chance for the Lords to debate and amend the bill.
  • More about third reading.

Further information

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill takes place during report stage.

Find out more about watching House of Lords debates.

Image: iStockphoto

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