Clause 7 - Exercise of functions relating to provision of services

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 14th September 2021.

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Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 2:15 pm, 14th September 2021

The hon. Lady is absolutely right about the importance of trying to join up different primary care services and the commissioning arrangements. There has been, under Governments of all complexions, a fragmentation in that, with some services commissioned nationally and others locally, and the Bill gives us an opportunity to create a more coherent, place-based commissioning approach.

On the specific point the shadow Minister asked about proposed new subsection (4) and the

“direction under subsection (1) to include provision prohibiting or restricting the integrated care board from making delegation arrangements in relation to a function that is exercisable by it by virtue of the direction”,

my understanding is that it is a pragmatic clause, basically limiting the ability to sub-delegate further. We would envisage this being a consensual and collaborative approach between us and NHS England in the region, and of course the Government would be guided by NHS England.

In the nature of having to make regulations in this House to do it, the wording reflects the fact that it will be the Government laying those regulations, but we would envisage that being guided and led by the NHS. As the hon. Member for Bristol South rightly said, the NHS region will often be the best place to advise on the readiness or otherwise of different ICBs at different stages in the process.