Schedule 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:18 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Sandra Gidley Sandra Gidley Shadow Minister, Health 4:18 pm, 17th January 2008

I will make just a few brief points, as we have heard a fairly detailed explanation of the provisions. Some pertinent questions have been posed to which I, too, should like to hear the answers. I share the concerns of the hon. Member for Eddisbury, as it is vital that we know what assessment has been made of the extra work load on the ombudsman. I also share the concerns of the hon. Member for Luton, North. We would not want to see a diminution in the quality of service provided by the ombudsman. An overriding concern is that if a complaints procedure is connected with the regulator, that will be an in-house and reactive arrangement. If there is a stream of related complaints, that needs to be flagged up quite early in the process.

I am concerned that however robust the mechanism that is put in place by the Government to feed back the ombudsman’s concerns, it will not be as efficient and responsive as an in-house process. The constant development that stems from the fact that the commission can deal with complaints should not be dismissed lightly in the overall picture of improving health care for our constituents.