Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:00 pm on 16th October 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Carnegy of Lour Baroness Carnegy of Lour Conservative 1:00 pm, 16th October 2003

Once again the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, has reminded us what it feels like to be inside a hospital. We in this House find it easy to conceive how the public will view these hospitals. We can imagine how the members of a trust will view the hospital. We can imagine how they will feel about the board of governors and so on.

In hospitals, where there are vulnerable people—and almost all patients will be vulnerable, especially long-term patients—there must be some mechanism. Most of us who visit people in hospitals have seen the problems there and how difficult it is for families and patients to express their complaints. For example, people may want to complain about the way in which they are fed—about whether it is ensured that they can get the nourishment that they need and reach the cup of tea that has been served up. There are all those small things that people find it very difficult to complain about, on which a person's life may depend.

I hope that the Minister does not simply tell us how the governors will be able to deal with those important matters. I cannot see how a trust can operate properly without a mechanism to deal with them.