Report (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:51 pm on 6th March 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Crossbench 6:51 pm, 6th March 2012

My Lords, some of the amendments in this group are in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, who is unable to be in the House today because of ill health. They relate to the transition of care between different sectors and build around the principle of integrated working.

The problem that arises is that the responsibility for care of children will sit with different groups. There is a need to make sure that, when children make the transition from being the responsibility of social services to being the responsibility of the local authority and, in adult care, of the clinical commissioning groups, there is adequate provision for how that handover occurs. A clear date for it should be set and it should make explicit the duties for each party involved in handing on information. Without that, there is a concern that as these young people-many of whom will have mixed mental, physical and social care needs-transition across, information about those needs may not adequately pass from one agency to another. There is a concern that they may fall into a gap and that the responsibility at the time of transition will not be clear. We are also concerned that, without a clear, fixed date for the transition with a default time set in legislation, it will be easy for a young person's care to drop out of sight, particularly if they are not supported by people well able to advocate on their behalf.

Also in this group is Amendment 174A, which concerns the general duties of Monitor and is in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone. She has asked me to speak to this amendment, which again emphasises the importance of integration of services. Her concern is about diabetes but goes far wider than that. Where there is a multiplicity of providers, how they work together will depend on how Monitor specifies service in the national tariff. Since patients with complex conditions require input from many different providers, there is a concern that, without a real emphasis in the Bill on provision being integrated, they may end up being told that their care is not the responsibility of one person or another. These amendments, which have been grouped together, seek clarity on the seamless provision of care. The principle behind them is to address those gaps that we have identified in that seamless provision of care.

I return to the amendments in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne. We are well aware that it can be very difficult to differentiate between the social and mental health needs of young people. For that reason, we feel that it is important that transition is clarified. I beg to move.