Topical Questions

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 27th March 2012.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health 11:30 am, 27th March 2012

I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. As he will be aware from his time on the Bill Committee this Government have for the first time in the 64 years of the NHS put into legislation a duty to reduce health inequalities. That will be done through the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups, each being under a duty to have regard to the need to reduce inequalities in access to and the outcomes of health care. The Secretary of State will also have a wider duty to have regard to the need to reduce inequalities relating to the health service. That will include his duties for both the NHS and public health. It is a great step forward and I am surprised that the previous Government did not think of doing it during their 13 years.