Schedule 5

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health) 4:30 pm, 17th January 2008

My hon. Friend puts her finger on an instinctive concern that is probably shared across the Committee. We will try to grapple our way towards a solution.

It is important to recognise that the care complaints procedure and potential remedies available to cared-for people—be that on a health basis or a social care basis—need to be based on their care concerns, not on their financial circumstances. That is the underlying sense of this. In the absence of the Government having picked up on a number of the proposals on trying to incorporate the rights-based approach—not least those made by the hon. Member for Luton, North—we have not even got as our default position the fact that a human being also has certain rights that carry through irrespective of their financial circumstances at the start.

Inevitably, those who have money, if they live long enough and have those care needs for long enough, will over time get down to the threshold and suddenly go from private to public. If they are in the same setting, their complaints procedure will suddenly move from a set of private avenues to a set of public avenues under the arrangements. There is therefore a legitimate point, which is causing concern.