Clause 1 - The Secretary of State and the comprehensive health service

Part of Health and Social Care(Re-Committed) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 30th June 2011.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Liberal Democrat, Southport 9:45 am, 30th June 2011

I do not want to go into the details of what my former colleague said. We have a difference of opinion about what the Bill does. He has acknowledged, quite fairly, that the BMA is concerned that the Secretary of State does not appear to have enough hands-on control and responsibility, but on page 3 of its representations on the original Bill, under the heading “Key areas of concern”, it stated:

“The BMA believes that the Secretary of State will have too much control over the NHS Commissioning Board; he/she will be able to make changes without consultation; he/she will be able to dictate how and which treatments and services consortia provide”.

To some extent, that answers the point made by the hon. Member for Leicester West. She said that that is precisely what would not happen, whereas the BMA says that it is precisely what would. We have to make our mind up on where the critique is coming from, and to make it in as fair a way as possible.