Draft Dentists Act 1984 (Amendment) Order 2001

[back to previous text]

Mr. Burns: Will the Minister give way?

Ms Blears: Yes, as the hon. Gentleman is so insistent.

Mr. Burns: I am grateful to the Minister. Perhaps she can help me. The order says, at the bottom of page 1:

    ``An earlier draft of this Order was published for consultation in accordance with . . . the Health Act.''

Why is that? The Minister said that there had been no draft order for consultation, so why does the order say that there was?

Ms Blears: I understand that, subject to a tiny amendment, the order is the same as the draft order; there was no substantive difference between those two documents.

Mr. Burns: So there was an earlier draft.

Ms Blears: The order refers to:

    ``An earlier draft of this order''—

but it was not a different order, it was a draft of this order. I think that that is the clarification that the hon. Gentleman seeks, and I am delighted to have been able to reassure him on that.

Dr. Evan Harris: I was struck by the fact that the Minister said that there is a large queue of orders from other health professionals, and those groups allied to medicine, seeking modernisation—what we could say is reform. Will she clarify what limits the updating and reforming of systems of regulation? The limiting factor is often parliamentary time and order-making powers, rather than the desire of the profession to reform regulatory practices.

Ms Blears: It is not simply a matter of parliamentary time, but one of drafting, discussing and consulting on orders. It is crucial to obtain the broadest support if orders are to do what is intended, which is to create sustainable change for the long term, with everyone covered by the provisions. Such a framework cannot be imposed in a top-down fashion, but must offer a partnership to improve services for patients, and that is what we are all here to do. Whatever regulatory framework we have, we want to produce higher standards and a better quality of health care for those whom we represent. That must be achieved with the broadest agreement, while keeping up the pressure for progress. I am sure that hon. Members will keep up the pressure on me to introduce the necessary orders as fast as possible. We will shortly see further developments in this field.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Dentists Act 1984 (Amendment) Order 2001.

        Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Hurst, Mr. Alan (Chairman)
Blears, Ms
Burden, Richard
Burns, Mr.
Davey, Valerie
Fabricant, Michael
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Harris, Dr. Evan
Knight, Jim
Naysmith, Dr.
Pope, Mr.
Reid, Mr. Alan
Salter, Mr.
Smith, Llew
Ward, Ms
Wilshire, Mr.

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