Clause 7 - Exercise of functions relating to provision of services

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 14th September 2021.

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Photo of Karin Smyth Karin Smyth Labour, Bristol South 2:00 pm, 14th September 2021

My hon. Friend makes an interesting point about asymmetrical power and who does what. I may differ slightly, in that I think that that may suit local circumstances, but the judgment about what a mature ICB is, and which powers it should be responsible for, has been made behind closed doors and according to criteria about which we know nothing. The professionals in those services certainly deserve to know better.

Fundamentally, however, patients in both our areas need to understand and know who is commissioning and why. The state of dentistry shocks us all as a nation, as do those of ophthalmic services and pharmaceutical services, which we know are so important for supporting the wider system. We want to ensure that those services thrive and that they are clear about how they are being commissioned and who is doing it.

In my experience, the evolution from the CCG was muddled and meant stasis for a long time in any development of those services. We want to avoid that, because some of those organisations will be ready to go now and some of them may never be ready. As my hon. Friend says, is that an acceptable position for the Government in this new area of local permissiveness?