Clause 14 - People for whom integrated care boards have responsibility

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 16th September 2021.

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Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 12:45 pm, 16th September 2021

I will respond very briefly. The shadow Minister raises two key bundles of points. I hope that I can reassure him that the approach adopted here is far from restricting access. It is designed to ensure that everyone has an ICB covering them, ensuring universality of coverage. Similarly, the clause does not alter in any way the ability of anyone to access emergency care when they need it, nor those ordinarily resident in the UK to use the NHS as they do.

The second bundle of points he made related to charging regulations and those who are eligible to be charged under current regulations. While he highlighted a number of points, I genuinely believe that the charging regulations in place are appropriately and reasonably framed and strike the right balance in ensuring that people can access NHS care, while rightly making a contribution to the services they are accessing—obviously with certain things exempt from charging for public health and other reasons. I do believe they strike the appropriate balance. There is nothing in what we are proposing today that fundamentally changes people’s ability to access healthcare, nor indeed changes those charging regulations. On that basis, I commend clause 14 to the Committee.