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Standing Committee Debates
Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

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Standing Committee E

Tuesday 13 May 2003

(Morning)

[Mr. Win Griffiths in the Chair]

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

8.55 am

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton): I beg to move,

    That—

    (1) during proceedings on the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill the Standing Committee shall meet when the House is sitting on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8.55 am and 2.30 pm, except that on Tuesday 3rd June it shall meet at 10.30 am and 4.30 pm;

    (2) the proceedings to be taken at the sittings shall be as shown in the second column of the Table below and shall be taken in the order so shown;

    (3) the proceedings which under paragraph (2) are to be taken on any sitting shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the third column of the Table;

    (4) paragraph (2) shall not prevent proceedings being taken (in the order shown in the second column of the Table) at any earlier sitting that that provided for under paragraph (2) if previous proceedings have already been concluded.

TABLE

Sitting Proceedings Time for conclusion of proceedings
13th May (8.55 am) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
13th May (2.30 pm) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
15th May (8.55 am) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
15th May (2.30 pm) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
20th May (8.55 am) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
20th May (2.30 pm) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
22nd May (8.55 am) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1.
22nd May (2.30 pm) Clause 1, Schedule 1; Clause 2, Schedule 2; Clauses 3 to 25; Schedule 3; Clauses 26 to 32; Schedule 4; Clauses 33 to 35; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 1. 5.00 pm
3rd June (10.30 am) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 and 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 and 136.
3rd June (4.30 pm) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 and 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 and 136.
5th June (8.55 am) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 and 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 and 136.
5th June (2.30 pm) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 and 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 and 136.
10th June (8.55 am) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 and 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 and 136.
10th June (2.30 pm) Clause 36, Schedule 5; Clause 37, Schedule 6; Clause 38, Schedule 7; Clauses 39 to 41; Clauses 43 to 65; Clauses 72 to 88; Clauses 99 to 105; Clauses 107 to 109; Clause 111; Clauses 113 to 128; Clauses 133 to 134; Schedule 8; Clauses 135 to 136. 5.00 pm
12th June (8.55 am) Clause 42; Clauses 66 to 71; Clauses 89 to 98; Clause 106; Clause 110; Clause 112; Clauses 129 to 132; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 2. 11.25 pm
12th June (2.30 pm) Clauses 167 and 168; Schedule 11; Clauses 169 to 171; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 5. 5.00 pm
17th June (8.55 am) Clause 137, Schedule 9; Clauses 138 to 156; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 3.
17th June (2.30 pm) Clause 137, Schedule 9; Clauses 138 to 156; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 3.
19th June (8.55 am) Clauses 157 to 166; Schedule 10; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 4; Clauses 172 to 175, Schedule 12; Clauses 176 to 181; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 6; remaining new Clauses and new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill.
19th June (2.30 pm) Clauses 157 to 166; Schedule 10; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 4; Clauses 172 to 175, Schedule 12; Clauses 176 to 181; new Clauses and new Schedules relating to Part 6; remaining new Clauses and new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill. 5.00 pm

On behalf of all members of the Committee, Mr. Griffiths, I should like to say how much we look forward to serving under your watchful eye during proceedings on this important Bill. On behalf of my hon. Friends, I promise good behaviour, which I am sure will be reciprocated on both sides of the Committee. We also look forward to serving under the chairmanship of Mr. Atkinson, whom I hold in the

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highest regard. He is the Member of Parliament for the constituency in which I lived before I was elected to the House. My family still lives in his constituency, but I cannot promise that they are ever likely to vote for him, although, of course, that might change.

We have drafted the programme motion in an attempt to be fair to both sides of the Committee. Hon. Members will know that parts of the Bill are controversial—particularly part 1—because they propose radical reforms in the national health service. We have devoted the lion's share of the Committee's time to the consideration of part 1, which has only 35 clauses, and I hope that hon. Members will find that an acceptable division.

It is sometimes difficult to be fair to all quarters in politics. One can end up with no credit whatever, and I suspect that that will become increasingly apparent during the course of this short debate. However, the motion is a fair and balanced attempt to ensure that the Committee has an appropriate opportunity to scrutinise the Bill effectively and thoroughly, and I hope, therefore, that the Committee will support the motion.

The Chairman: Under the Standing Order, the debate may continue for up to 30 minutes.

Mr. Simon Burns (West Chelmsford): On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends, I echo the Minister's sentiments in welcoming you, Mr. Griffiths, and your colleague on the Chairman's panel, Mr. Atkinson, to the chairmanship of our proceedings. Given the confusion of the proposals, we look forward not only to proceeding in this Committee in a spirit of good faith and good manners, but to pressing the Government hard on their exact intentions.

The Opposition do not oppose the programme motion per se, but I wish to highlight two points. The first concerns the sitting on 19 June, during which we will debate clauses 157 onwards, which deal with NHS dentistry. I am glad to see the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy), in his place because I want to seek an assurance from him at the outset and give him plenty of time to prepare for that sitting.

Many of the Government's proposals will be finalised through regulations. To ensure that the Government have left enough time to discuss dentistry and the other matters in the programme motion, I am concerned that, if they are able, at the earliest possible moment during our proceedings and long before 19 June, they should give the Committee the draft regulations in any shape or form, so that we know more about their intentions as we conduct our debate. If that is not feasible, in order to help us in our deliberations, can the Under-Secretary provide us with greater details of what he anticipates might be in the regulations?

The second matter is slightly more sensitive. I do not seek to criticise the Committee of Selection, because that would be totally out of order, but I am concerned about the impact of the composition of this Committee on its ability to debate fully and properly and to tease out of the Government their arguments on those parts of the Bill that are highly contentious.

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Will there be enough time under this programme motion to do that? As you know, Mr. Griffiths, composition of Committees should reflect the will of the House of Commons. When one sees the list of Labour Members who have been selected for this Committee—apart from Ministers and the sprinkling of Under-Secretaries, who do not get paid but are, so to speak, on the payroll—one is concerned about the time allocated.

Some 65 Labour Members—15 per cent. of the Labour party—voted for what is known as the rebels' amendment, yet there is no true person on this list who actually—[Interruption.] It is worrying that the timetable may not allow enough time for a possible rebel to decide what action to take. The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Pound) had it both ways; he voted for the rebel amendment yet supported the Bill on Second Reading, to enable him to develop his arguments.

 
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