Health and Social Care Bill: Report stage day seven update

14 March 2012

The House of Lords continued further line by line examination of the Health and Social Care Bill yesterday (Tuesday 13 March) in the seventh and last day of report stage. Lords voted four times on amendments covering the abolishment of existing bodies, human rights of the elderly at home and delaying the implementation of Part Three of the bill until 2016

Baroness Emerton (Crossbench) opened the debate by moving Amendment 240 for the regulation of healthcare support workers to be the same as registered nurses and midwives.

Earl Howe (conservative) responded on behalf of the government and explained that the government recognised 'the need to drive up standards for support workers and to facilitate employers  appropriately to employ, delegate to and supervise health and social car support workers.'

He explained: 'we have commissioned Skills for Health and Skills for Care to work with professional stakeholders on the development of a code of conduct and minimum induction and training standards for healthcare support workers and adult social care workers in England.'

Baroness Emerton withdrew the amendment following the debate and assurances from Earl Howe.

The first vote, for Amendment 243 by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Labour), resulted in a government win. Members voted 237 against and 178 for the amendment to remove Clause 211 which will abolish the General Social Care Council. Lord Hunt of Kings Heath is concerned with the government proposals that social workers will be regulated by the Health Professions Council and not by the current General Social Care Council regulators.

Earl Howe moved a number of amendments which were considered minor technical changes to Part Nine. The group of amendments 'establishes the information centre in primary legislation, setting out its powers in relation to the collection, analysis, publication or dissemination of information.' These will strengthen confidentiality of personal information and require a code of practice for all publicly funded health and social care providers on 'how to deal with person-identifiable or other confidential information.'

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath moved Amendment 292 to prevent the abolition of a number of existing public bodies including the National Patient Safety Agency. He argued these help the airline industry to become 'safer' and has been 'outstandingly successful over the years.'  Members voted 244 against and 187 for the change resulting in a government win.

Baroness Greengross (crossbench) moved Amendment 292A to add a new clause before Clause 280. The new clause addressed the human rights of patients in care or patients in their own home to receive care. Members voted 253 'not contents' and 196 'content' and so the amendment was not made.

Baroness Thornton (Labour) wished to amend Clause 302 to change the pace of implementation with Amendment 300A. She argued: 'While other parts of the bill bed in and foundation trusts can be regulated and registered as far as possible it seems to me that May 2016 is the right time to implement Part Three of the bill. At some point in this bill, the government had set that date for getting foundation trusts set up, as far as they could be. That will be when all the other work has been done and is bedded in, and has perhaps built up some support with less fear and hostility than it does at the moment.' Members voted, resulting in the fourth government win, with 237 against and 178 for.

Third reading is scheduled for Monday 19 March.

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.

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