Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 2:30 pm, 9th January 2003

The hon. Gentleman quotes only part of the amendment, which goes on to say that the proposal should apply unless the centre is in dialogue with its sister bodies in England. We are trying to make that dialogue the norm, so that such problems would not arise.

There are various ways in which the centre should try to get its message across. For example, it could use regional newspapers. There are several very good daily morning and evening newspapers and even weekly newspapers in Wales, and they get their message across. Using the South Wales Evening Post would be a perfect way to get the message on MMR across, especially in areas that face the problem, such as Swansea. There would be no problem in doing that, and I suspect that it would be far more cost-efficient.

The use of television is the main problem because it does not respect boundaries, as has been rightly said. Many people could receive pictures from elsewhere. Of course, with digital television, people living in England can receive Welsh television, and vice versa. Satellite television, the internet and e-mails could be used, and I am sure that there is even a role for texting on telephones. All those things have to be considered.

We feel very strong about this issue. Although we failed in Committee when we tried to get those bodies to work together to achieve coherence and joined-up thinking, the campaigning aspect for the Wales centre for health will be vital. I can imagine that Members of Parliament will get in touch with the centre, saying XThis is a particular health problem in my area. Please will you look into it, and do some research and campaigning on it?" That would be a perfect and appropriate role for Members of Parliament, but, surely, given the limited amount of money that the Wales centre for health will have at its disposal, we want to ensure that it at least talks properly to similar organisations elsewhere.

We want to ensure that the campaigns are properly costed, work together and are rolled out where appropriate, so that we can save money and be far more efficient than if we leave things as they are and simply pray that the bodies will talk to one another and work together. Why do we leave that to chance? Let us include such things in the Bill and ensure coherence.