Part of Health and Care Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 4:22 pm on 23rd March 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Walmsley Baroness Walmsley Co-Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Peers 4:22 pm, 23rd March 2022

My Lords, this Bill is of great significance to the NHS, care services and, in particular, patients and residents in the care system. As the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, and the Minister have said, it has been improved by your Lordships’ usual scrutiny.

I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Kamall, and the other two Ministers working on the Bill. By my calculations, the Government have given us either changes or reassurances on 13 different areas in this Bill. It certainly shows that the ministerial team and the Bill team—to which I am also grateful—have been listening. They have devoted an enormous amount of time to hearing our concerns and responding to them. I thank them for that.

This Bill has been a model of how people can work across parties in this House. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, and her team for the way that we have been able to collaborate on issues on which we agree, and indeed to the Cross-Benchers, many of whom have enormous expertise in health issues and have helped us all to understand the significance of the issues that we have been discussing. It has really been a model of how we can work together, and I am most grateful for that.

I am particularly grateful to the wonderful team behind me and my noble friend Lady Brinton, who unfortunately has to participate virtually. When the Chief Whip asked me to be the Front-Bench anchorwoman on this Bill, because my noble friend, our spokesperson, has to participate virtually, I said that I would do it as long as I could put a team together. Well, my colleagues have stepped up magnificently and I am most grateful to them; I could not have done it without them. In particular, my noble friend Lady Brinton, with her tremendous knowledge and conscientious scrutiny of this Bill, has been wonderful.

As we now unhook the hawsers, put the sails up and send this Bill sailing down the Corridor to the other end, I hope I will be forgiven for suggesting that I hope we do not see too much of it coming back.