Clause 23 - the council for the regulation of health care professionals
NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill
Dr Evan Harris (Oxford West and Abingdon, Liberal Democrat)
I accept that the hon. Gentleman was being helpful in giving me time to find the reference.
Recommendation 72 of the Kennedy report is explicit:
''The Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals should be established as a matter of priority.''
I accept that the Government are establishing the body as a matter of urgency. Indeed, they are doing so before we have had their formal response to the Kennedy report, which means either that the Bill is an urgent response to the issue or that they are taking their time over their response to the report. The report continues:
''It should have a statutory basis. It should report to Parliament. It should have a broadly-based membership, consisting of representatives of the bodies that regulate the various groups of healthcare professionals, of the NHS and of the general public.''
In so far as the clause goes, we want to give it our full support. Of course, the clause refers to schedule 7, which concerns the balance of that body's membership. Nevertheless, the Government should be commended on the relative speed with which they have brought forward the proposal. They have sought to stick relatively closely to the Kennedy prescription, rather than their original prescription in the NHS plan, and we warmly welcome the clause.