Report (6th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 11:45 am on 8th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Liberal Democrat 11:45 am, 8th March 2012

My Lords, I believe that I have answered the question. I accept that it is important. We believe that the provisions that are now to be in the Bill, given the government amendments and an assurance that I hope to receive from the Government, will cover the position.

I was explaining that, when we tabled Amendment 220B, we believed that there should also be an individual arrangement for agreement with Monitor so that all considerations could be balanced when considering any substantial increase in private income. However, in discussions, the Government agreed to respond to amendments that Liberal Democrat Peers tabled in Committee on the involvement of governors. Those amendments that the Government now pursue-Amendments 220BZA and 220BZB-represent that response. They ensure that any increase of more than 5 per cent would have to be approved by the governors voting, as I say, by a majority. The governors have to be satisfied that the plans put forward by the foundation trusts for attracting private income would not interfere with the treatment or welfare of NHS patients. I suggest that that scheme represents a devolved, local scheme that is consonant with the structures in the Bill and the desire to keep local decision-making at a local level.

There may still be concern that the governors of individual foundation trusts will primarily have in mind the concerns of their own foundation trusts. However, under amendments that have been agreed, Monitor is now to have continuing powers of supervision and intervention over foundation trusts. If we are assured that in every case where the governors approve a proposal for an increase in private income in excess of 5 per cent Monitor will consider whether the interests of NHS patients as a whole are to be safeguarded, and if it is not so satisfied it would intervene, I suggest that that assurance will meet that concern. We will not move Amendment 220B but we seek that assurance from my noble friend the Minister.