Clause 144 - Appeal against a certificate

Health and Social Care(Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 17th June 2003.

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Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Minister of State, Department of Health, Minister of State (Department of Health) (Health) 2:45 pm, 17th June 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 569, in

clause 144, page 67, line 16, at end insert

'(subject to subsection (3A) and sections 145(5A) and 146(4A))'.

Photo of Peter Atkinson Peter Atkinson Conservative, Hexham

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 571 to 574.

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

Under the road traffic accident recovery scheme, compensators are required to pay any NHS charges that are due before they can appeal against the level of those charges. The aim behind those provisions was to minimise spurious appeals and that tended only to delay the payment of charges that were due. As the scheme takes into account only payments made by insurers under provisions in the Road Traffic Act 1988, making an appeal would never be likely to cause severe financial hardship to the compensator. However, it is possible that NHS charges could, under the new scheme, be deemed payable by small businesses or individuals. That would only arise if the person or body concerned had made a compensation payment, but there may be a small number of uninsured individuals for whom the additional payment of NHS charges could cause exceptional financial hardship, only to lead to money being refunded in the event of a successful appeal.

Concerns have been expressed that that may be seen as effectively denying compensators access to independent right of appeal. Ministers therefore agreed that in exceptional cases the power to waive payment prior to appeal should be included in the Bill. I hope that Committee members will find that concession helpful, especially in the light of some of the comments that have been made about the impact of the provisions on small businesses.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 570, in

clause 144, page 67, line 20, after first 'of', insert

', or paragraph 10(2)(a) of Schedule 6 to,'.

No. 571, in

clause 144, page 67, line 23, at end insert—

'(3A) The Secretary of State or the Scottish Ministers may, on an application by the person to whom the certificate was issued, waive the requirement in subsection (2)(b) that payment of the amount (or amounts) specified in the certificate be made before making an appeal.

(3B) The Secretary of State or the Scottish Ministers may only grant a waiver if it appears to him or them that payment of the

amount (or amounts) specified in the certificate would cause exceptional financial hardship.

(3C) An appeal against a decision of the Secretary of State or the Scottish Ministers on an application under subsection (3A) (referred to in this section and sections 145 and 146 as a 'waiver decision') may be made by the person to whom the certificate was issued.'.

No. 572, in

clause 144, page 67, line 25, after 'appeal', insert

'against a certificate or waiver decision'.

No. 573, in

clause 144, page 67, line 27, after 'appeal', insert

'against a certificate or waiver decision'.

No. 574, in

clause 144, page 67, line 32, after 'appeal', insert 'against a certificate'.—[Mr. Hutton.]

Clause 144, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.