Clause 4

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 15th January 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health 12:15 pm, 15th January 2008

I take the hon. Gentleman’s point, but I have noticed that a number of Conservative Members use the term apartheid to describe the cross-border complexities caused by devolution. I ask him to bear in mind how the use of that term would come across to most South Africans.

The clause allows regulations to be made to define the activities that need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission. That will be carried out through regulations, so the list of regulated activities can be revised as new models of service provision evolve. This is particularly important, so I intend to spend a little time outlining it.

We want to encourage flexible and innovative ways of delivering services to be developed. I do not want the registration system to be a barrier to that. Ofsted is responsible for regulating children’s social care. To avoid the possibility of services currently registered with Ofsted having to register twice, the clause specifically excludes any services that are registered  with Ofsted from the definition of “regulated activity”, but of course they will have to work closely together.

We will be consulting very soon on the activities that are to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission. We expect that most service providers currently regulated by the Healthcare Commission or the Commission for Social Care Inspection will be required to register. These would include independent sector health care providers and providers of adult social care that are currently required to register. For the first time, NHS trusts—including ambulance trusts—NHS foundation trusts, and primary care community services will also need to register. Under the current arrangements, because NHS care is regulated and inspected differently from other services, it is not always easy for patients to compare NHS services with those of other providers. It also creates a barrier to joint working and means that private providers providing some statutory services have to comply with two regimes. Creating a unified system of regulation across health and adult social care providers from all sectors will create a fairer playing field. It will also assure the general public that whichever provider they use, all services will be required to meet the same national safety and quality requirements, and will be subject to the same enforcement regime if they fail to do so.

In respect of the hon. Gentleman’s question on assets, as I said in my answer to a previous question, I will include whatever information we can give the Committee on assets in writing.

On his question about cross-border issues and the term “in relation to”, I suspect—I will confirm this in writing—that this may include examples in which the service is provided in Wales, although it is commissioned in England. That may be an example where we would have to use the phrase “in relation to English”, but I will happily confirm that in writing.