Clause 138 - Applications for certificates of NHS charges

Health and Social Care(Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 17th June 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

I have a couple of questions with which I am sure the Minister will be able to deal with his usual aplomb, style and accuracy.

This part of the Bill deals with England, Scotland and Wales. Clause 138(1) refers to how a person may apply for a certificate and states that they may apply to the Secretary of State, to Scottish Ministers or both. What happens if the claim is in relation to Wales? Why is there no reference to the Welsh Assembly or the Secretary of State for Wales? If there was such a reference to the Secretary of State for Wales, to what address does he recommend that the complaint be forwarded? Would it be an English address in London or an address in Cardiff?

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

My hon. Friend anticipates my next sentence. Should the clause include a reference to a constitutional affairs personage? We need clarification, given the events of the past few days.

In the midst of my questions there is a serious point about what happens to an application in relation to Wales. All through this part of the Bill, Wales seems to have been excluded, but earlier the Minister mentioned people referring or applying to the Welsh Assembly. I may be missing something in the translation, but perhaps he could deal with those issues.

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

There is a simple answer to the hon. Gentleman's point. This is not a devolved matter, so my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State acts for England and Wales in the operation of the scheme. That is why there is no need for an application specifically to the Welsh Assembly.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 138 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 139 ordered to stand part of the Bill.