Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-First Report

Appendix 1

S.I. 2003/2123: memorandum from the Department of Health

Patients' Forums (Membership and Procedure) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/2123)

1. These Regulations are to make further provision in relation to Patients' Forums established under section 15 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002. Section 15 is to be commenced on 1 September 2003. Patients' Forums are an essential feature of the new patient and public involvement system being established in the NHS which will replace the current Community Health Councils.

2. The Regulations were widely consulted on. The consultation period ended on 16 July. However, as a result of representations made by key external stakeholders after the close of the formal period of consultation, it was necessary to make late adjustments to the instructions for the Regulations. Ensuring that these important representations were fully incorporated into the overall Patients' Forums framework resulted in additional time taken to finalise the Regulations. The Department considered that the additional time was justified as the views received were critical for the effective implementation of the Patients' Forums provisions.

3. The Regulations are being laid before Parliament in breach of the 21 day rule for the reasons set out at paragraph 2 above. The Department greatly regrets the need in this case to break the 21 day rule.

August 2003

S.I. 2003/2123: further memorandum from the Department of Health

1. The Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 28 October 2003 and requested a memorandum on the following points:

(1) Paragraphs (3)(b) and (4)(b) of regulation 2 are each expressed to be subject to regulation 4(1)(i). Given that all of the grounds of disqualification for appointment of a member of a Patients' Forum apply to every member of it, explain the purpose and effect of the words of subjection.

2. The specific reference in regulation 2(3)(b) and (4)(b) to regulation 4(1)(i) was included in error and the Department apologises. The Department will remove the references at the earliest opportunity.

(2) Explain the purpose and effect of the words "and notifies (as he should)" in regulation 6(3)(b). Are they intended to mean the same as "he shall notify"?

3. The purpose and effect of the words "and notifies (as he should)" in regulation 6(3)(b) is to create an obligation on the individual to notify. The intention was to make clear the expectation that the individual would notify without creating a sanction for failure to do so.

4. As requested, the Department is forwarding, also as an electronic version, a copy of the memorandum dated August 2003 relating to these Regulations.

November 2003

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