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Lords continues line by line examination of Health and Care Bill

27 January 2022

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Members of the Lords continued their detailed check of the Health and Care Bill in committee stage on Wednesday 26 January.

The Health and Care Bill seeks to enact policies recommended in the 2019 NHS Long Term plan and to support the government in promoting local collaboration, reforming the NHS Provider Selection Regime and improving accountability and public confidence.

Wednesday 26 January

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • NHS continuing healthcare funding 

  • ensuring that people have cost-effective continuing care 

  • digital transformation of the NHS, ensuring citizens data is safeguarded

  • Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) membership

  • integrated support for vulnerable families to care for children from the early years and throughout their lives.

Catch up

Next steps

Committee stage continues on Monday 31 January when further amendments will be discussed.

How to follow

Line by line examination

Committee stage is the first chance for line by line examination of the bill.

Proposed changes

An overview of scheduled* topics for committee stage is listed below. A PDF of all changes (amendments) put forward by members can also be downloaded.

Monday 31 January

  • health and adult social care
  • Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB)

Thursday 4 February

  • HSSIB powers, oversight and relationship with other bodies
  • virginity testing offences

* the schedule is subject to change. View latest details.

Explore further information

Read background on the Health and Care Bill in the House of Lords Library briefing.

What's happened so far?

Committee stage day five: Monday 24 January

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • investment in technological advancements

  • patient choice in health management

  • appointing an innovation officer to review innovative medicines and devices

  • ensuring sufficient well-trained staff to comply with safe staffing levels

  • placing a duty on NHS England and Integrated Care Boards to ensure that there is a range of choice and expertise available to local communities.

Catch up

Committee stage day four: Thursday 20 January

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • equality of access to services for people with osteoporosis
  • prevention of disease and the maintenance of health
  • imbalance between the provision of mental and physical healthcare
  • HIV and AIDS services
  • integration between health and social care
  • role of NICE in supporting patient access to new treatments
  • support for victims of domestic abuse.

Catch up

Committee stage day three: Tuesday 18 January

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • ensuring the Better Care Fund is used to support service integration for children as well as adults

  • integrated care boards appointment processes, membership and constitution  

  • digital transformation in the health service

  • ensuring specialist palliative care services are a core service available equitably across England.

Catch up

Committee stage day two: Thursday 13 January

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • addressing health inequalities in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods, those living in rural areas, the homeless, sex workers, Traveller community and drug users

  • duties of integrated care boards to reduce inequalities in access to health services and to tackle behavioural risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and alcohol

  • amending the triple aim to explicitly include health inequalities

  • disparities in life expectancy demonstrating the impact of extreme social exclusion

  • encouraging social enterprise involvement to reach the most socially excluded individuals

  • NHS England publishing guidance about the collection, analysis, reporting and publication of performance factors by relevant NHS bodies with respect to inequalities.

Catch up

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 11 January 2022

Scrutiny concerns

Members raised concerns following a report from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, that the bill was not subject to pre-legislative scrutiny and more than half of the proposed delegated powers are subject to no parliamentary procedure.

Lord Blencathra (Chair of Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee) and Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots (Chair of Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee), spoke in a recent House of Lords Podcast about concerns regarding the use of delegated powers and secondary legislation, and the need for a rebalancing of power back towards Parliament.

NHS England and waiting times

Members also considered changes to the bill relating to:

  • membership of NHS England commissioning board
  • ensuring NHS England allocates funding to mental health services
  • ensuring the 18-week waiting time target is maintained as a key part of the NHS mandate.

Catch up

Second reading: Tuesday 7 December 2021

Members discussed the main aspects of the bill during the second reading  debate, including:

  • setting a cap on care costs

  • setting mandatory information standards for data across the health and adult social care system

  • establishing a Health Services Safety Investigations Board

  • restricting the advertising of less healthy food and drinks on television, on-demand programme services and online, and promoting good health to tackle childhood obesity

  • involvement of private healthcare companies and transparency of awarding contracts under a new procurement regime

  • the impact of reorganising the NHS while it is still dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • developing a 15-year strategic framework for workforce planning, merging NHS England and Health Education England

  • addressing waiting times for elective surgery for cancer, mental health support, and delays for ambulances

  • addressing the level of health inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic

  • the role of primary care providers, family hubs, social enterprises and charities, and the arts

  • embedding research in the health and care system, not only to improve healthcare outcomes but to contribute to the goal of making the UK a hub for life sciences globally.

Members speaking

Lord Kamall (Conservative), Minister for Technology, Innovation and Life Sciences, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Over 80 members spoke, including:

Lord Stevens of Birmingham (Crossbench), former chief executive of NHS England, made his maiden speech.

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript. 

Image: Flickr