Schedule 8 - Minor and consequential amendments

NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 13th December 2001.

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Photo of Mr Alan Hurst Mr Alan Hurst Labour, Braintree

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 113 and 133.

Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health)

Briefly, the amendments amend section 21(1) of the Health Act 1999 covering the role of the Audit Commission to provide that, if requested to do so by the Commission for Health Improvement, may join the commission in exercising any of the commission's functions under sections 20(1)(da) and (db), which are the new functions inserted by clauses 12(2)(c) and 13(1)(a) of the Bill, as well as those functions already referred to in section 21(1)(a). The intention is to enable joint working between the Audit Commission and the Commission for Health Improvement in their review and inspection functions as amended by the Bill.

I assure the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire that these three amendments are tidying and consequential and do not move the policy goal posts in any direction.

Amendment No. 112 corrects a typographical error in the printed version of the Bill. Amendment No. 113 is consequential to amendment No. 100—that is, insertion of the amendment of section 140 of the Mental Health Act 1999 entails a consequential repeal of paragraph 107(12)(b) in schedule 1 to the Health Authorities Act 1995.

Amendment No. 133 enables joint working between the Audit Commission and CHI on their review and inspection functions, as amended by clauses 12(2)(c) and 13(1)(a) of the Bill, as well as those functions already referred to in the 1999 Act.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

Amendments Nos. 112 and 113 are technical and I have nothing to say about them.

I welcome amendment No. 133. During an earlier debate, we raised some concerns about the role of the Audit Commission now that the Commission for Health Improvement is to have a role in the inspection of health services that are being provided instead of its previous narrower role covering clinical governance. One of the points made by us and some of the bodies with which we have communicated during the course of our proceedings was that they felt it important that the work of the Audit Commission—it has exposed some of the great problems that the Government and patients are having with the health service at present—should not be sidelined. I referred to an article in the Health Service Journal which was insistent on the point.

It is welcome that the Minister is introducing the amendment confirming that the Audit Commission will be able to undertake inspections for the Commission for Health Improvement, that it is not being sidelined in any way and that there will be a proper commitment to joint working. I hope that that is what it means and I believe that that is what the Minister said, in which case I welcome it.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 113, in page 79, line 16, leave out 'paragraph 32(b) is' and insert

'paragraphs 32(b) and 107(12)(b) are'.—[Mr. Hutton.]

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

On a point of order, Mr. Hurst. I had intended to ask the Minister to explain in detail the import of Government amendment No. 258. If the Government Whip was thinking of seeking to adjourn the Committee, now might be a good time.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Jim Fitzpatrick.]

Adjourned accordingly at fourteen minutes past Eleven o'clock till this day at half-past Two o'clock.