Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 12th September 2011.

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Photo of John Healey John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Health 4:43 pm, 12th September 2011

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last week, this House was asked to debate, amend and agree the Health and Social Care Bill. We were asked to scrutinise that legislation with no updated information on the costs and consequences of the biggest reorganisation in NHS history because the Government had promised a new impact assessment but had not published it before the debate. It was then smuggled out with no press statement the very next day and it shows that savings are planned at £2 billion less, it shows that the new economic regulator, Monitor, is set to have 600 staff at an average cost of £84,000 each and, most importantly to this House, on page three it shows that the Minister signed it off on 1 September, a full five days before the debate in this House. It is a disgrace that these facts were kept hidden from the House and the public before such a critical and controversial debate. In the light of page 447 of “Erskine May”, can you advise this House whether the Government have followed the proper parliamentary procedure and of what steps can be taken to stop such abuse in the future?


Dee Speers
Posted on 13 Sep 2011 1:20 pm (Report this annotation)

Can someone please address the fact the "NHS Complaints system is not working" (say MPs on the Health Select Committee.......who also found during their Complaints and Litigation Inquiry that the Parliamentary "Health Service Ombudsman role needs a complete overhaul if it is to provide an effective appeals process for NHS Complaints"

Question 1: If the Public Administration Select Committee scrutinize PHSO role annually, why did they find same as HSC, when Ann Abraham PHSO gave evidence just two weeks earlier.
Could it be only three MPs in Scrutiny meeting?

Question 2: Why wont Select Committees respond to letters?

Question 3: What is happening re NHS Complaints?
Question 4: When will role of PHSO be addressed?
Question 5: Are our Select Committees 'fit for purpose?

Richard Taylor
Posted on 7 Nov 2011 1:08 am (Report this annotation)

John Healey MP appears to be suggesting that the impact assessment he mentions ought to have been communicated to the house and made available to members of parliament (and thereby the public).

p447 of Erskine May states:

"The Speaker has accepted the recommendation of the former House of Commons (Services) Committee that a department should supply to the Library in advance a list of all older papers which appear relevant to a forthcoming debate"

This appears to refer to a statement by Speaker Horace King on the 21st of February 1966 in which he stated:

"I have decided, therefore, to accept the recommendation of the House of Commons (Services) Committee that in future a Department should supply to the Library in advance a list of all those older papers which appear to it to be relevant to a forthcoming debate. Members will be able to consult this list in the Library and to order from the Vote Office such papers as they require, besides, of course, any other papers which they may wish to have."


An interesting related statement at the beginning of the section within Erskine May states:

"A Minister of the Crown may not read or quote from a despatch or other State paper not before the House, unless he is prepared to lay it upon the Table. Similarly, it has been accepted that a document which has been cited by a Minister ought to be laid upon the Table of the House, if it can be done without Injury to the public interest."