Clause 52 - Interpretation

Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 10th January 2006.

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

Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health

I am sorry, but I have a quick question, which I might have asked earlier, regarding subsection (5). I want to ask about the nature of the special health authorities and to whom the functions are likely to be delegated. The provision further defines who within those special health authorities are the appropriate officers to exercise those functions—this is particularly to do with disclosure and the execution of notices to produce documents and the like. Are we talking about the Healthcare Commission alone or a range of authorities? Perhaps we could have some sense of who they are.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State (Quality and Patient Safety), Department of Health

I sought to say this in my opening comments. The only officers who will be able to discharge those powers will be officers of the Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, which is a special health authority at the moment, but which will merge with other organisations in the Business Services Authority, but only officers of the CFSMS within the BSA of the NHS will have those powers. As I sought to reassure the Committee earlier, they are highly trained individuals and the use of the powers will be supervised by senior officers in the service. I   hope that I have reassured the hon. Gentleman that we take seriously the concerns that he and the hon. Member for Westbury raised this afternoon. I, too, want to be sure that we are taking forward and awarding powers that are appropriate to the nature of the problem, and I hope that I have demonstrated that this afternoon.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 52 ordered to stand part of the Bill.