Health and Social Care Bill — Report (4th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 29th February 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Jolly Baroness Jolly Liberal Democrat 10:00 pm, 29th February 2012

My Lords, I will speak very briefly, because a lot has been said on this amendment, to which I was happy to add my name. I welcomed the amendment and the structure that it laid out. I am sure that my noble friend Lady Cumberlege will address the amendments to the amendment.

The issue is one of culture. The culture proposed by the Government does not achieve the desired vision for Public Health England. An executive agency is proposed that will be independent, able to speak out without check and research as it thinks necessary, with an independent chair and non-executive directors. At the beginning of Committee, I met the president of the Faculty of Public Health. In advance of this debate, I rang her this week and we spoke again. She expressed her anxiety about the structure proposed by the Bill.

The role of Public Health England should be to implement the policy made by the department. It should also have the opportunity to influence that policy. Clearly, the Government's structure does not allow for that. I would really welcome an explanation from my noble friend about the rationale for favouring an organisation that is lacking in independence and that therefore will also lack in public and professional trust.