Royal assent of Health Bill

30 March 2012

The Health and Social Care Bill is due to receive royal assent today (Tuesday 27 March) and become law

The final amendments made by the House of Lords on third reading of the bill were agreed to by the Commons last week. Catch up on the progress of the bill:

What is royal assent?

Once a bill has completed all its parliamentary stages in both Houses, it's ready to receive royal assent and become an act of Parliament (law). Royal assent is the Queen's formal agreement to make the bill into an act.

There is no set time period between the consideration of amendments and royal assent.

When royal assent has been given, an announcement is made in both Houses by the Lord Speaker in the Lords and the Speaker in the Commons.

At prorogation (the formal end to a parliamentary session), Black Rod interrupts the proceedings of the Commons and summons MPs to the Lords chamber to hear the Lords commissioners announce royal assent for each bill.

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.

Further information

Find out more about watching House of Lords debates.

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