Although we do not expect to need to use the powers of direction to intervene in this area, they can be used and will act as a further safeguard against unfair payment scheme provisions, as well as allowing for appropriate parliamentary accountability for funding flows in the NHS. The consultation requirements in schedule 10, and the general powers of direction, allow for sufficient Government oversight and accountability for the payment scheme, and further specific provisions would be inflexible and unnecessary. [Interruption.] I will shorten my remarks. [Hon. Members: “No!”] I am happy to go on and on, but I fear the Committee might wish me to conclude. In that context, I will highlight to the Committee that, as with the national tariff, fair levels of reimbursement are a key principle of the legal framework reflected in NHS England’s duty in subsection (6) of proposed new section 114A(6) to have regard to differences in providers’ costs and the different range of services that they provide for the purpose of securing that prices and the overall payment scheme result in a fair level of pay to different types of providers.
I will also highlight and draw to the Committee’s attention provisions in proposed new section 114C as inserted by schedule 10, which makes clear that, before publishing the payment scheme, NHS England must consult integrated care boards, relevant providers and any other person that NHS England thinks appropriate. It must also provide an impact assessment of the impact of the proposed scheme.