Report (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 6th March 2012.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 3:30 pm, 6th March 2012

The noble Baroness may not have been following all our debates as closely as some, given that we have extensively debated integrating health and social care and how the Bill will improve the prospects of that. I therefore do not agree that social care is such a poor relation in the Bill. She is quite right; of course its prime focus is health, but we have not completely neglected the subject that is so close to her heart.

Specific legislation on social care will be the most appropriate vehicle for debating these critical matters and achieving lasting reform. Of course I understand the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Warner, to keep social care at the top of the political agenda. That is greatly to his credit. I can assure him that the Government have not lost sight of this. We share the same aims for a high-quality service, but it would be wrong to legislate now in such a selective way. The noble Lord may suppose that this is just another instance of a Minister following the standard line that says "resist", but I hope he will accept that that is not so. There are genuine reasons why the amendment is a bad idea, and I hope that he will feel able to withdraw it.

Having said that, I look forward to debating these issues with him further in due course, and to benefiting from the insight that he and others bring to this topic.