Clause 164 - Special Health Authorities

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 19th June 2003.

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Question proposed, That clause 164 stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I would appreciate it, as would the Committee, if the Minister cut through the technicalities of this clause and share with us exactly what it means.

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

I am very happy to do that. Essentially, the clause paves the way for a new special health authority to be established to take on the functions and responsibilities of the Dental Practice Board. These two new functions are needed to enable the new special health authority to be established as a successor body to the DPB to undertake the functions needed in relation to primary dental services.

Subsection (1) amends section 11 of the National Health Service Act 1977, under which a special health authority is established, having reference to the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act 1997. This will allow, very simply, for a new special health authority that replaces the DPB and takes on its functions in relation to primary dental service pilot arrangements.

Subsection (2) amends section 16(b) of the 1977 Act in relation to the exercise of functions by primary care trusts. An order may provide for the transfer to a special health authority of the rights and liabilities of a primary care trust under a general dental services contract, where the special health authority is to exercise functions on its behalf, and for their transfer back where the authority ceases to exercise those functions.

Subsection (3) makes similar provision in relation to local health boards in Wales. It proposes a simple series of technical provisions to allow the new special health authorities that will take on the work of the DPB to do that within a proper legal context. In that way, there will be no question marks over their jurisdiction and authority.

Clause 164 ordered to stand part of the Bill.