Amendments down for the health bill debate tomorrow include some on research

Posted on September 5, 2011 by

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The Commons are going to be debating the health & social care bill tomorrow and Wednesday. The full list of amendments up for debate has now been pulled together. This includes some amendments exploring the  duties the bill introduces to promote research and innovation on the secretary of state, NHS commissioning board and clinical commissioning groups and whether these need beefing up.

Background

The Health & Social Care Bill was published on 19 January 2011, proposing changes to the NHS. It started off being debated in the Commons.

Once it had completed committee stage, in response to growing concern over the proposals in it, it was paused to allow the government to “pause, listen and engage” and consider making changes to Bill.

Following this pause, the government made some research-friendly changes to the Health & Social Care Bill.

Because it had been changed considerably, the bill went back into committee stage so MPs could scrutinise it clause by clause. It now needs to complete report stage and third reading in the Commons before it heads to the Lords to be debated.

We welcomed the research-friendly changes made to the bill but have some ongoing questions and concerns, including understanding the scope and impact of the new duties the government has introduced on the secretary of state, NHS commissioning board and clinical commissioning consortia towards research. All our questions are outlined in this briefing and my blogpost here.

What do the amendments say?

Amendment 1194 is focused on beefing up the secretary of state’s duty towards research. It says:

Page  3,  line  1,  leave out Clause 4.

Andrew George

Greg Mulholland

Caroline Lucas

Page  3,  line  16  [Clause  5],  leave out ‘have regard to the need to’.

Which would mean the secretary of state’s duty towards research would be to not just “have regard to the need to” promote research but to simply “promote research”. This is the bit of the bill it changes:

Clause 5
The Secretary of State’s duty as to research. After section 1C of the National Health Service Act 2006, insert—
“1D Duty as to research.

“In exercising functions in relation to the health service, the Secretary
of State must have regard to the need to promote—
(a) research on matters relevant to the health service, and .
(b) the use in the health service of evidence obtained from
research.”

 I think there are also some amendments similarly exploring the duties towards research on the NHS commissioning board and clinical commissioning groups but I’m still hunting those out…

There are some other interesting amendments:

Inserting a duty on the secretary of state to maintain a system for professional education and training. The government committed to this when they responded to the future forum back in June but the bill had not yet been amended to include it. The future forum is currently looking at how the health education and training system can be improved and the government is planning to publish plans in the autumn.

Secretary of State’s duty as to education and training

John Healey

Liz Kendall

Emily Thornberry

Derek Twigg

Andrew George

Owen Smith

NC12

To move the following Clause:—

‘After section 1F of the National Health Service Act 2006 insert—                          “1G       Secretary of State’s duty as to education and training                          For the purposes of improving the quality of patient care, the  Secretary                          of State has a duty to maintain a comprehensive, multi-professional                          education and training system for health professionals and to ensure the                          continued professional development of all staff delivering NHS                    services.”’.

And similarly placing that duty to education and training on providers:

Providers’ duty as to education and training

John Healey

Liz Kendall

Emily Thornberry

Derek Twigg

Andrew George

Owen Smith

NC13

To move the following Clause:—

‘For the purposes of improving the quality of patient care, all providers of services for the purposes of the health service have a duty to contribute towards  the maintenance of a comprehensive, multi-professional education and training system for health professionals and to ensure the continued professional development of all their staff delivering health services.’.

And there are a few clauses focused on protecting the stability of existing NHS services including research, education and training.

Andrew George

Caroline Lucas

Greg Mulholland

1204

Page  36,  line  36  [Clause  23],  at end insert—

‘14YA    Duty as regards stability of existing NHS services

Each clinical commissioning group must not exercise its functions, in respect of

section 14U (Duty as to patient choice) or 14W (Duty to promote innovation) in

a way which could lead to existing NHS services, including but not restricted to,

emergency care, intensive care, chronic and complex care, teaching, training and

research, becoming unviable or unstable due to an unplanned reduction in income

or case-load.’.

Andrew George

Caroline Lucas

Greg Mulholland

1209

Page  92,  line  8  [Clause  70],  at end insert—

‘(d)      protect and promote the integration of health services and health and

social care services,

(e)       improve the equality of access to NHS services and healthcare outcome,

(f)        do not undermine the stability of existing NHS services, including but not

restricted to, emergency care, intensive care, chronic and complex care,

teaching, training and research, becoming unviable due to a reduction in

income or case-load.’.

 Care Quality Commission: duty as regards stability of existing NHS services

Andrew George

Caroline Lucas

Greg Mulholland

NC18

To move the following Clause:—

‘The Care Quality Commission, in exercising its functions, must have regard to

the need to avoid existing NHS services, including but not restricted to,

emergency care, intensive care, chronic and complex care, teaching, training and

research or case-load.’.

What next?

These amendments will be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday. There isn’t much time for all of these topics to be discussed so not all of these amendments will get a look in. But it’ll be worth a listen.

Posted in: Policy