Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Conservative, Leominster 3:41 pm, 9th January 2003

The Bill will, sensibly, retain CHCs for Wales. It is a disgrace that English CHCs have not been preserved in the same way. While I am happy to work in the House for what is best for the Welsh people, it is fair to point out that Labour Members have a responsibility to look after the whole of the UK and that the Bill will therefore stand in the statute book as a monument to new Labour's double standards.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander—and my entry in the Register of Members' Interests shows that I have some expertise on geese. We know that CHCs are a good thing, as does the National Assembly for Wales. What a shame that nobody told the Executive of this Government, as was shown when my hon. Friend Mr. Hawkins asked the Prime Minister this question:

XFollowing the Government's humiliating defeat in another place last night, will the Prime Minister finally agree with the views of medical charities, the British Medical Association and the Opposition and withdraw his mad plans to abolish community health councils?"

The Prime Minister replied:

XNo, we will not, because the replacement of community health councils by patient forums and patient councils is, we believe, and as the College of Health made clear earlier, a better way to make sure that patients' interests are represented. There has been a debate about community health councils for many years, but patient forums"—[Hansard, 25 April 2002; Vol. 376, c. 305.]—