Clause 6 - Extent, commencement and short title

Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 16th December 2015.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

If you want to say something nice about the Committee, let us do that after clause 6.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

I just wanted to repeat the offer I made earlier. Although we are skittling through these clauses, let me say, in the spirit of co-operation between all Members, that, if Members felt it appropriate, I would happily convene a round table before Report and Third Reading. There is obviously a bit of work to be done between the hon. Member for Torfaen and my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry. I will happily put my office at the disposal of that work and convene a meeting to try to prepare some amendments that might be tabled on Report. If you think it appropriate, Mr Streeter, we could circulate them among the members of this Committee, and, if it were possible to say, “These amendment are in the spirit of the Committee deliberations and are agreed”—albeit possibly not unanimously—I happily suggest that as something we might do.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

That is a very fine offer and I am sure the Committee is grateful to the Minister, whom I thank for his point of order. We were, however, considering the Question that clause 6 stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 6 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Question proposed, That the Chair do report the Bill to the House.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

This debate is an opportunity for Mr Heaton-Harris to say something nice about the Chair.

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Conservative, Daventry

Thank you, Mr Streeter. What a wise Chairman you are—one of the best Committee Chairmen ever.

I thank all members of the Committee for their forbearance, especially those who have distinct issues with parts of the Bill. The offers I made are real, and, if I cannot get the controversial parts in clauses 3 and 4 into the right place quickly, I intend to table amendments to delete them, as I said to the hon. Member for Torfaen, so that there is absolute clarity. I look forward to working with anybody who wants to work with me on getting all the other provisions in the Bill into the right place.

I thank you very much, Mr Streeter, and would like to wish a very merry Christmas to every member of the Committee and staff, especially the departmental staff. There is a gentleman called Mr Peter Knight who helped convene a workshop last week for me to explain to interested organisations what the database could look like and how the consultation on it might proceed, which shed a lot of light on this issue and clarified things.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

I would like briefly to add my thanks to you, Mr Streeter, for chairing the Committee.

We have had a constructive discussion with all parties represented on the Committee, with some front-line advice from clinicians. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry for his clear offer. I pay tribute to him for the clarity of that offer. The Government are concerned that this Bill, with the noblest of intentions, is still not in a place where it has widespread support from all parties. A Bill that elicits concerns and opposition from both industry and charities, patient groups, lawyers and the General Medical Council is a Bill whose nobility of purpose is not yet reflected in unanimity of support.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and I know that he is keen to get the Bill to a point where it can be distinguished from a predecessor Bill that generated a lot of heat and some opposition. I genuinely believe he is trying to get to that point, particularly on the database provisions. I urge him to keep his foot to the pedal, particularly on the negligence provisions, on which we have a bit more work to do. I repeat that if a well-intentioned Bill has the inadvertent effect of undermining patient and public trust in the world-class status of our research medicine and clinical trials, it will be self-defeating and I would find it impossible to support. However, we have a chance to avoid that.

I thank you for your excellent chairmanship of the Committee, Mr Streeter, and add my thanks to the officials sitting on both sides of you, who have guided  us through this process. I hope we can get to a point where we can go back to the House on Report and say that this Committee has managed to rescue a noble cause and, with the help of my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry, put forward a proposal we can all support.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Health)

May I start by thanking you, Mr Streeter, for your chairmanship of the Committee? I hope that this is the first of many times we will meet in such a situation. I also thank the Minister and the hon. Member for Daventry for the open way in which they took on board our concerns. I, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen, will be pleased to accept any offers  to help get the Bill into a shape where it has the support of not only Members of all parties, but, most importantly, the greater medical community. The hon. Member for Daventry is a beacon of optimism in that respect, given the level of concern that remains, but we shall try. The Minister is right that we do not want to put into law something about which there is such widespread concern, but we shall see where we get to on Report.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose.