Health and Care Bill, Lords Message

The Health and Care Bill puts into legislation measures in the 2019 NHS Long Term Plan and the 2021 White Paper “Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all”. It would develop the 42 existing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) by creating an Integrated Care Board (ICB) and an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) as statutory bodies in each ICS area. The ICB will lead on integration between NHS bodies and the ICP will focus on integration between the NHS, local government, and other providers.

The Bill formally merges NHS England and NHS Improvement, and makes changes to procurement and competition rules relating to health services. It also includes proposals to give the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care powers to direct NHS England and to decide how other health services are organised.

Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment 29B . This amendment requires the Government to produce a report every three years assessing and meeting the workforce needs of the health and social care systems in England. It is evident that there is no way for the NHS to meet the demands upon it without an appropriate workforce. Waiting times cannot come down without the necessary staff. I voted against the motion, which passed, Ayes: 278 and Noes:182.

Motion to insist on disagreement with Lords Amendment 80. The Government’s proposed social care cost cap structure is not a fair approach. Local-authority funded care will not count towards the cap, putting those who are already without assets at a disadvantage. They were also added to the Bill late, without sufficient scrutiny. I voted against the motion, which was passed,  Ayes:282 and Noes: 183.