Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Hywel Williams Hywel Williams Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health) 3:49 pm, 9th January 2003

I am sure that hon. Members will be gratified to learn that I intend to be brief. [Hon. Members: XSit down, then!"] I shall in a moment, if hon. Members contain themselves.

I welcome this, the first all-Wales Bill since devolution. It is the product of extensive preparation and discussion. The proposals that have been fashioned are extremely appropriate for Wales and do not preclude co-operation between the health service in Wales and that in England, Scotland or any other country. The Bill contains valuable proposals for the Wales centre for health, which will have a vital job in promoting public health. I also welcome the establishment of Health Professions Wales, and the strengthening of the CHCs, including, I hope, their all-Wales body.

I would like to look at the process by which we have reached this point. It has involved an extensive process of consultation, consideration and discussion involving the National Assembly for Wales and its committees, the public, the Welsh Affairs Committee, the Welsh Grand Committee, followed by the Bill's Second Reading, the Standing Committee, Report and Third Reading—nine steps, so far. The interpretation of this process will, no doubt, be varied and could form the subject of much discussion in Wales in political and academic circles. I look forward to that discussion, as I think that we need to develop our understanding of Welsh political processes through as wide a discussion as possible. Bearing in mind those nine steps, however, I conclude by commending to hon. Members—and, incidentally, to Lord Richard—the good business principle of cutting out the middle man.