Clause 44

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (South West), The Minister of State, Department of Health 2:30 pm, 17th January 2008

I am not aware of any example of that happening previously. It would certainly not be within our powers under the Bill to prevent the CQC from conducting an urgent review, as I have made clear. We are, however, keen to avoid the more generalised reviews—non-urgent reviews—in the first year of its existence. If the CQC came to us and said that it was very worried about x, y and z in a certain place and any patterns that might emerge from that across the service that were putting safety and quality of care at risk, it would not be within the powers of the Secretary of State, let alone be his inclination, to prevent the commission from acting.

We are simply trying to send a message to the new regulator that it will have a big job on its hands for the first 12 months in getting the registration system in place. It will have quite a lot of work doing that, and while it is doing that, we want it to concentrate its reviews on the things that are really serious and matter. A burden will also be placed on the bodies and organisations being regulated. If more general reviews were being conducted at the same time, we would be worried about the capacity of the new regulator and of the regulated bodies to cope, but certainly we would expect anything that was important and urgent as the hon. Gentleman described to fall within the commission’s remit right from the start.