Health and Social Care Bill consideration of Lords Amendments

21 March 2012

The House of Commons considered Lords amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill on Tuesday 20 March. The Bill will now await Royal Assent

Summary of the Bill

The Bill proposes to create an independent NHS Board, promote patient choice, and to reduce NHS administration costs.

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.

Progress of the Bill

The Health and Social Care Bill was first introduced into the House of Commons on 19 January 2011 and received a second reading on 31 January 2011. The Bill was then considered by a Public Bill Committee from 8 February to 31 March 2011.

On 4 April 2011 the Secretary of State for Health made a statement to the House of Commons announcing that there would be a break in the passage of the Bill. The Government set up an independent group to review the Health and Social Care Bill known as the NHS Future Forum. The group reported its findings and recommendations to the Government on 13 June 2011.

On 21 June the Health and Social Care Bill was re-committed to the Public Bill Committee for further consideration which took place from 28 June to 14 July 2011.The Bill was considered at report stage in the House of Commons for two days on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 September 2011 and third reading took place on Wednesday 7 September.

The Bill was sent to the House of Lords for consideration. The Lords made amendments to the Bill and these were considered by the Commons on 20 March 2012.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Health and Social Care Bill and find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Proceedings on Lords amendments

MPs considered Lords Amendments in the following order.
Lords Amendments 1-10 and 13-30 were agreed to without a division.
Lords Amendment 31 was agreed to on a division (Ayes 233; Noes 313).
Lords Amendments 32-42, 54-60 and 63-147 were agreed to without a division.
Opposition Amendment (b) to Lords Amendment 148 was defeated on a division (Ayes 235; Noes 313).
Lords Amendments 148-167, 242, 246, 248, 252, 287, 292-326, 328-332 and 335-365 were agreed to without a division.
Lords Amendment 11 was agreed to without a division.
Lords Amendments 12, 43-53, 61, 62, 168-241, 243-245, 247, 249-251, 253-286, 288-291, 327, 333, 334 and 366-374 were agreed to on a division (Ayes 324; Noes 236). 

Watch and read the proceedings on Lords amendments and the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Lords Amendments

When a Bill has passed through third reading in both Houses it is returned to the first House (where it started) for the second House's amendments (proposals for change) to be considered.

Both Houses must agree on the exact wording of the Bill. There is no set time period between the third reading of a Bill and consideration of any Commons or Lords amendments.

'Ping Pong'

If the Commons makes amendments to the Bill, the Lords must consider them and either agree or disagree to the amendments or make alternative proposals.

If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the Bill is sent back to the Commons.

A Bill may go back and forth between each House (‘Ping Pong’) until both Houses reach agreement.

What happens after consideration of amendments?

Once the Commons and Lords agree on the final version of the Bill, it can receive Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament (the proposals of the Bill now become law).

Image: PA

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