Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Roger Williams Roger Williams Liberal Democrat, Brecon and Radnorshire 3:31 pm, 9th January 2003

I agree. Many of us have dealt in our surgeries with people waiting for hip replacements who are forced to use the private sector. To some extent, that is an historic problem that cannot be solved at the stroke of a pen; it will take time.

Ill health in Wales is due not only to employment, but to high unemployment. The closure of the steel industry and the coal mines has brought relative poverty to many areas. There is a close relationship between poverty and ill health. Through a cycle of ill health and deprivation, families that have suffered from ill health for many years go on to produce another generation whose lifestyle and quality of life make it more prone to long periods of ill health. Youth unemployment has decreased over recent years, but many people have difficulty in finding gainful employment, and drug abuse has dragged them into ill health and exclusion from the health service.

The Bill is, as the Minister said, an enabling Bill. I welcome that. It gives powers to the Assembly to organise the structure and workings of the three organisations in a way that is suitable for Wales. In Committee, I was critical of some of the Tory amendments—