NHS Reform & Health Care Professions

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Mr. Heald: I was not satisfied on two issues, although we are broadly in favour of the clause, as I said. I shall leave my remarks about the work of National Care Standards Commission until the next group of amendments.

Column Number: 204

The Minister is right to say that subsection (5) simply provides for the Commission for Health Improvement and the Secretary of State to be consulted on Audit Commission studies on improving economic aspects of services. However, section 21 of the 1999 Act already contains detailed provisions on the way in which the Audit Commission and the Commission for Health Improvement should interact. The concern is that the co-ordination of their work could sideline the Audit Commission.

The explanatory notes say that the purpose of subsection (5) is to improve co-ordination. They state that consultation must be carried out

    ''as part of better co-ordination of regulation of the NHS.''

The Minister is saying that the provisions strengthen co-ordination, but he cannot turn round in Committee and say that the Government are merely delegating some responsibility to the Commission for Health Improvement. The Secretary of State must still be consulted, so he loses nothing. The commission gains the right to be consulted against the background of arrangements for joint working that provide that the Audit Commission may undertake functions—

It being One o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Four o'clock.

Column Number: 205

The following Members attended the Committee:
Hurst, Mr. Alan (Chairman)
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Burnham, Andy
Burns, Mr.
Challen, Mr.
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Hall, Mr. Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan
Havard, Mr.

Column Number: 206

Heald, Mr.
Hutton, Mr.
Moffatt, Laura
Murrison, Dr.
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Gareth
Touhig, Mr.
Ward, Ms

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