Clause 41

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:30 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 1:30 pm, 17th January 2008

The reason why we have trouble with the amendment is that we do not think it sensible or desirable to restrict the scope of the standards to the NHS core principles. Those core principles have existed since 2000, so we do not think that there is a need to legislate to introduce them. We have strengthened the force of the principles by incorporating them into the standard NHS contracts between primary care trusts and secondary care service providers, which were introduced in 2007. Those contracts required all sides to have regard to the NHS principles, and that is a more appropriate way of confirming the commitment of NHS bodies to the principles than enshrining them  in legislation, as they are by definition general principles of behaviour that can be applied in practice in a variety of ways.

Because we want to put more power in the hands of front-line staff to get on with the job and let local circumstances help them with the application of those values, we believe that they will apply the core principles sensibly and flexibly. It would not be sensible for us to predict what effect the legal application would have on local practice, which is why we are inclined to resist the amendment.