Lords examines NHS regulations

25 April 2013

Members of the Lords discussed the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations yesterday

Lords debated whether the regulations implement the assurances, given by ministers during the passage of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, that NHS Commissioners would be free to commission services in the way they consider to be in the best interests of patients. The debate focused on competition in service provision, including the role of Monitor, the health service regulator.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Labour) proposed a motion to annul the regulations, which went to a vote with 146 for and 254 against.

About the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations

The regulations are a statutory instrument that:

  • sets out the new provisions for Clinical Commissioning Groups to commission services in the restructured NHS as set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • is a substitute for a previous version (SI 2013/257) which were revoked as a result of concerns about the degree to which such contracts would need to be advertised and opened to competitive tendering
  • was subject to an extensive report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee in its 33rd report (PDF, 153KB).

How does this draft instrument become law?

These regulations are subject to the negative procedure, meaning that members in either House have 40 sitting days (from the date the instrument was laid) to object to the regulations, which is done by tabling a prayer motion. They would not otherwise be debated. The 40-day scrutiny period does not prevent the regulations being brought into effect at any time – these regulations came into force on 1 April and at the same time revoked the original regulations (SI 2013/257).

Further information

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