All 17 Baroness Tyler of Enfield contributions to the Health and Care Act 2022

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Tue 7th Dec 2021
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

2nd reading & 2nd reading & 2nd reading
Tue 11th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Committee stage & Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage & Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Thu 13th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Thu 13th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage: Part 2
Tue 18th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Tue 18th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage: Part 2
Thu 20th Jan 2022
Wed 26th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Wed 26th Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage: Part 2
Mon 31st Jan 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Fri 4th Feb 2022
Wed 9th Feb 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1
Tue 1st Mar 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Report stage: Part 1
Thu 3rd Mar 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Report stage: Part 1
Mon 7th Mar 2022
Health and Care Bill
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Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Report stage: Part 1
Mon 7th Mar 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Report stage: Part 2
Tue 5th Apr 2022
Health and Care Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments & Consideration of Commons amendments

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, it is a privilege to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell. I want to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, on his quite outstanding maiden speech.

Overall, I welcome the shift away from competition to greater collaboration and integration in our complex health and social care sector that this Bill signals, but, like others, I am very concerned about the timing of this legislation. The health and social care systems currently face extreme challenges, workforce shortages and burnout, a resurgence of Covid with a new, more transmissible variant, a huge pandemic-induced backlog of treatment, winter pressures and social care in crisis. Now does not feel like the right time for a structural reorganisation which will inevitably divert scarce clinical and management attention from front-line delivery. So my first question to the Minister is: why now?

Secondly, the fundamental problem that the NHS is confronting is a lack of capacity and resilience, particularly the lack of spare capacity in the system, meaning that it is continuously running at an unsustainable “hot” level of bed occupancy. The UK has 2.7 hospital beds per 1,000 of population compared to an EU average of 5.2 and significantly fewer doctors and nurses per head of population. So my next question to the Minister is: what plans do the Government have urgently to increase capacity and deal with workforce shortages, and how does this Bill help? Like others, I strongly support the calls for Clause 35 to be amended so that the Secretary of State must publish independently verified assessments of current and future workforce numbers every two years.

I wish to focus briefly on three issues that I shall pursue in the Bill. First, the Bill reads as if it is written by adults for adults. Babies, children and young people make up 30% of the population. They have their own distinct workforce, a distinct legal framework and distinct services. More needs to be done to ensure that the benefits of integration apply equally to the children’s system, and this should be made explicit in the Bill.

It is vital that children are prioritised in the new integrated care systems and that a national accountability framework supports them to deliver improvements in health and social care outcomes for children. There must be a plan to set out clearly how existing duties, including leadership of local safeguarding arrangements, will be transferred from CCGs to integrated care boards without endangering the safety of children or impacting on the provision of services. Following the heartbreaking and horrific murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the Bill should be used as an opportunity to strengthen leadership within these safeguarding partnerships, to improve independent scrutiny of the arrangements, and to ensure that action is taken in response to the lessons learned.

Secondly, as highlighted in a recent report on child vulnerability by the Lords Public Services Committee, there needs to be improved data sharing to allow better joint working across health, education, and children’s social care. As the noble Lord, Lord Bichard, pointed out, data sharing in the Bill currently applies only to the adult system, for reasons I do not understand. The Bill must surely be amended to make it clear that the benefits of better information and data sharing apply equally to children and that agencies can and should share data where it is in the best interests of children to do so.

Mental illness represents up to 23% of the total burden of ill health in the UK but only 11% of NHS England’s budget. At present, there is no assurance in the Bill that mental health will be given equal precedence with physical health in integrated care systems or by NHS England. This is disappointing after the hard-fought and successful battle, which many noble Lords were involved in, to amend the 2012 Act to make it clear that the Secretary of State must prioritise mental health as much as physical health. While the new Bill does not remove this duty from the Secretary of State, it fails to replicate it in the new triple aim. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, I want mental health to be mentioned explicitly in the NHS’s triple aim and in relevant parts throughout the Bill to specify that NHS England, ICBs and ICPs are expected to pursue “parity” between mental and physical health in all their functions and to report publicly on their outcomes.

Finally, on health inequalities, there is clearly scope for the Bill to be strengthened, as the noble Lord, Lord Patel, made clear. The pandemic has cruelly exposed and exacerbated health inequalities that have long existed in our society. I was going to set out various places where that could be done, but the noble Lord did it so comprehensively and clearly that I shall not repeat it.

If levelling up is to mean anything, the triple aim should be amended explicitly to reference health inequalities, thereby sending a clear signal to all parts of the new healthcare system that this is a priority at all levels.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Committee stage & Lords Hansard - Part 1
Tuesday 11th January 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Health and Care Act 2022 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-II Second marshalled list for Committee - (11 Jan 2022)
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GP)
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My Lords, I rise as a member of the general public who can barely tell the difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen but does know, after all my years observing people, that people in good mental health often exhibit much better physical health as well, because they have more resilience, they are more aware of their physical health and they take measures to make themselves healthier. Parity of esteem is a beautiful concept because it does not sound competitive and the more we spend on mental health, the less we might have to spend on physical health. Therefore, it is a no-brainer. I am astonished that the Government did not put it in the Bill when it is such a well-known concept. I very much hope that the Minister will—[Interruption.] That was a Tory intervention and now there is a Labour intervention.

I understand that this is a huge challenge, but it is just smart, quite honestly. It offers us a chance to make a real positive change—a societal change for people. I also very much support Amendment 5 tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, and all the subsequent changes through the Bill, and Amendment 138, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, which my noble friend Lady Bennett has also signed. I look forward to subsequent discussion with the Minister on this issue.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I rise to speak to the rather large list of amendments in this group—15 at the last count—to which my name is attached. I declare my interests as laid out in the register, particularly my new registered interest as a non-executive director of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Before turning to specific amendments, I have a couple of general points which apply across the board. The first concerns the scale of demand. Despite welcome investment and greater focus in recent years on mental health, there are now an estimated 1.6 million people waiting to access mental health services and so on a waiting list, and prevalence data suggests that some 8 million people with emerging mental health issues would benefit from services if they were able to meet the thresholds to access them.

Frankly, there are still too many instances of mental health services not being prioritised, such as the lack of investment in the mental health estate, which has a real impact on the trust’s ability to ensure both a safe and, particularly, a therapeutic environment. Also, the Prime Minister’s announcement on investment in new hospitals almost entirely overlooked the needs of mental health trusts.

The second general point is that the need to replicate the parity of esteem duty in the 2012 Bill throughout this Bill is more important than ever at a time when there is growing unmet need across multiple areas of health and care. Local health systems therefore face difficult choices around the allocation of resources. The full mental health impact of the pandemic is still emerging but mental health trust leaders report extraordinary pressures; in particular, a high proportion of children and young people not previously known to services are coming forward for treatment, often more unwell and with more complex problems.

The various amendments in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, and my noble friend Lady Walmsley to which I have attached my name, and which I strongly support, recognise the important role that NHS England, ICBs, NHS trusts and foundation trusts will each have in advancing parity of esteem between mental and physical health. It will be important that amendments to the Bill that explicitly require the prioritisation of both physical and mental health are made at each level of the system. Simply put, trusts’ ability to prioritise both physical and mental health is crucially dependent on the extent to which integrated care boards and NHS England do the same. Ultimately, of course, each level in the system’s ability to meet this requirement is reliant on the Government prioritising both physical and mental health.

I will turn briefly to various sets of amendments. As I have said, a lot of these amendments are about explicitly including mental health on the face of the Bill, at each level and relating specifically to the NHS triple aim. I want to explain why that is important. As I said, Section 1 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 enshrined in law a duty for the Secretary of State to secure parity of esteem between mental and physical health services. While the new Bill does not remove the duty from the Secretary of State, it fails to replicate it in the triple aim, and this sends out an unhelpful message. I fully accept that culture change needs far more than legislation but legislation can and does send an important signal, which is why we need parity of esteem strengthened throughout the Bill.

We know that the burden of mental illness in the UK far outstrips spend and that referrals to mental health services were at a peak during the pandemic. Thus, I strongly support the amendments tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, and my noble friend Lady Walmsley which explicitly reference mental health in parts of the Bill setting out how the triple aim applies to trusts, foundation trusts, integrated care boards, NHS England and the licensing of healthcare providers. This would ensure that the whole of the NHS is aware of its duties around parity of esteem.

I turn briefly now to what is happening at the local level. A recent survey by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that almost two-thirds of responding psychiatrists considered that their local area had been ineffective in working towards parity of esteem, and fewer than one in 10 said that their local area was effectively promoting parity. That is why each ICB should be required to promote parity; it should be included in their forward plans and they should be required to report on it as part of their annual reports. This would help transparency and help to hold the system to account; that is why I have added my name to the amendments from the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, and strongly support a separate amendment from the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, which calls for a duty on ICBs to promote and seek parity of esteem between physical and mental health and, critically, to annually report on their efforts to do so.

I come now to the Secretary of State’s responsibilities in all this. Having the parity of esteem in the 2012 Act has helped to secure welcome and important initiatives, such as the five-year forward view for mental health and the review of the Mental Health Act. Amendment 263 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, to which my name is attached, builds on this duty and requires the Secretary of State to outline to Parliament how the resourcing of mental health services and prevention efforts have ultimately improved care for people with mental illness and those at risk of developing poor mental health. This will bring further and much needed parliamentary scrutiny to this issue, and help us understand how we can build on current efforts to improve care and, most importantly, improve outcomes.

I turn finally to Amendments 5, 12 and 136, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, regarding the funding of mental health. Of course, financing is one of the most important indicators of parity of esteem—if it is real—and legal teeth to ensure clarity on it are absolutely critical. As I highlighted earlier, even with recent efforts, spending on mental health is not commensurate with the burden of mental illness in this country. Indeed, a King’s Fund analysis recently found that mental health outcomes accounted for 23% of the burden of ill health in the UK but received only 11% of spend for both prevention and treatment.

The Government’s recent spending review did not specifically allocate any additional funding for mental health services, despite over £44 billion being pumped into the NHS over the course of the spending review and services facing increased and sustained pressure. The mental health sector has made it clear that it will need to cut services from April 2022 if additional funding is not received. The noble Lord, Lord Stevens, is very well placed to know the right mechanisms and levers to pull to ensure improvements in how we fund mental health services, and how different parts of the system are held accountable for their efforts to do so.

These three amendments, which build on the mental health investment standard—something I very much welcomed at the time—at a local level for ICBs, adding an additional legislative lever and helping to increase overall transparency on how local areas fund mental health services, are extremely important. Finally, at national level, I strongly support the need for greater transparency for both the Government’s intentions on mental health spending and NHS England’s response to, and meeting of, these intentions.

While we often hear encouraging and warm words of support on mental health from the Government—and they are welcome—these amendments would make clear where those words have been put into action. As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets done.

Lord Patel Portrait Lord Patel (CB)
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My Lords, I will speak to the amendments in the name of my noble friend Lady Hollins. I have put my name to several of her amendments and I will speak to them all but, before I do so, I pay a very special tribute to her. For decades now, she has fought hard to improve the care of people with mental health and learning disabilities. Any progress that has been made has been to her credit, and any progress that we may help to make will not be ours but hers. We should try to help her.

On 8 February 2012, this House voted to put into legislation that mental health should be given parity of esteem with physical health. It was the only amendment of the 2012 Act that was carried, by a very narrow margin, as the then coalition Government had a big enough majority in both Houses. I remember apologising to the noble Earl, Lord Howe, who was the Minister taking the Bill through the House, for moving the amendment—I do not know why. He looked pretty confident, as he should have been because I was not confident; but I had moved the amendment on behalf of my noble friend Lady Hollins because it was her amendment. It just so happened that she was not able to be here; she was advising the Vatican at the time. Despite that, and to give credit to initiatives by NHS England and other NHS bodies, progress has been made—but it has been slow.

I declare an interest. I hold an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which I am very proud of. In my time as a high-risk obstetrician, unfortunately, I had to look after women who suffered from severe puerperal depression and I can testify to how serious a mental condition it is.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, my name is attached to six amendments in this extremely important group. I should like first to turn to Amendment 14 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, to which my name is attached. Other noble Lords have expressed support for amending the triple aim to explicitly include health inequalities, and I add my voice to that call. The examples given by the noble Lord, Lord Patel, and others about the real-life causes and impacts of health inequalities show just how important it is that we strengthen the Bill.

I would like briefly to highlight the specific impact of mental health inequalities, which are pervasive and deeply embedded. As the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, said in our debate on Tuesday, mental illness itself causes inequality. People with severe mental illness live, on average, between 15 and 20 years less than the general population. Black people are more than four times as likely as white people to be detained under the Mental Health Act. There are higher rates of suicide in the LGBT community, yet many in that community do not, or feel that they cannot, seek healthcare because of fear of discrimination. People with a learning disability often suffer with significantly worse physical and mental health than the general population.

The Centre for Mental Health Research has shown that it is often groups of people with the poorest mental health who have the greatest difficulty accessing healthcare that meets their needs and produces good outcomes for them. Unless an ICB is focused on which groups of people have the poorest health in the first place and understands why that is the case, it will, frankly, struggle to reduce the inequalities flowing from that.

Amendment 14 would amend the triple aim duties specifically for NHS England. Amendments 94, 185 and 186 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Patel, to which I have attached my name, would replicate that explicit inclusion in the triple aim for integrated care boards, NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts.

As the noble Lord, Lord Young, has said on health inequalities, regarding them as implied in the first element of the triple aim—to consider the impact of decisions on the health and well-being of the population—does not, in my view, get us any further than where we are today. Given the statistics that I have outlined and the fact, as we have heard, that the pandemic has made things a lot worse, we clearly need to go further.

I turn now to Amendment 65, regarding the role of local health systems. It seeks to strengthen the health inequality duty placed on integrated care boards by giving them a requirement to

“implement systems to identify and monitor inequalities in physical and mental health between different groups of people within the population”

of their area. As things stand, the provisions in the Bill will ensure that NHS organisations are required to address inequalities in a similar way to how CCGs currently do it. But we need to see more ambition. The provisions would be strengthened and not merely transferred. The current requirement to “have regard to” is not enough. Local health systems have a central role to play in addressing health inequalities. They are ideally positioned to understand the challenges in their areas and, to use the jargon—for which I apologise —co-produce local solutions with communities. The development of integrated care systems gives us a new opportunity for local areas to take population health and place-based approaches, so that the vulnerable groups who have been referred to do not fall through gaps.

There is a lot about health inequalities that we do not know; we suspect, but we just do not have the data. Amendment 65 proposes that the Bill includes clearer and more direct requirements for integrated care boards to focus efforts on identifying and monitoring those inequalities. Currently, the quantity and quality of data collected is inadequate for it to be fully disaggregated against the different protected characteristics and provide a real insight into the inequalities that exist. That is why I have attached my name to Amendment 61 in the name of my noble friend Lady Walmsley, which I strongly support.

Robust information and data are prerequisites for any action. Improved data collection—both on health services and on wider inequalities in the area—will lead to a far better assessment of what needs to be done, particularly in areas such as public mental health and the local NHS workforce. I will quote one statistic about GPs. A GP working in a practice serving the most deprived patients will, on average, be responsible for the care of almost 10% more patients than a GP serving a more affluent area. This simply cannot be right.

I will end by quoting from work we have already heard about—the work of Professor Sir Michael Marmot. It needs no introduction. He has demonstrated that efforts to address health inequalities will benefit society as a whole. The NHS Long Term Plan states:

“While we cannot treat our way out of inequalities, the NHS can ensure that action to drive down health inequalities is central to everything we do.”


I urge the Government to ensure that the Bill does just that.

Lord Desai Portrait Lord Desai (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, as an NHS patient but not an expert, I will say one small thing about inequalities. Given the way in which the NHS is structured, with no money paid up front and with excess demand and inadequate supplies because of budget shortages, it is forced to allocate treatment by queuing—and queuing, obviously, means that people have to wait.

There is a fallacy that somehow the poor have more time than the rich. In my experience it would improve matters immensely if, when appointments are given, there was less delay in the patient seeing the person whom they are supposed to see. I know that, right now, there are standard regulations that cover these matters, so that people end up waiting three hours. I have done that. But my time is not as valuable as that of someone poorer. You do not measure the value of your time by your income. So it would improve matters if the allocation of services were made using communication devices. This would waste less of patients’ time and help them better access services.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lord Patel Portrait Lord Patel (CB)
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My Lord, I rise very briefly to support Amendment 37 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, to which I have added my name. She and the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, have identified in detail why this is a key amendment that identifies the core representation that is required for ICB boards to function satisfactorily and develop strategies for population health in their area, and I strongly support it.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I shall speak very briefly to Amendment 38 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Bradley. I have huge sympathy with the intention behind this amendment. Everything that we have talked about so far on mental health has pointed to the fact that unless there is a strong mental health voice on ICBs, the whole issue of mental health funding and the priority it has will not get as strong a voice as it should. I recognise that some argue that we should not overspecify the membership of new bodies but should allow each integrated care system the flexibility to develop based on its own set of local relationships, and I do not overlook that point. However, my natural sympathy is that it is only too possible for mental health concerns to be ignored when decisions are made about resource allocation and prioritisation without a strong mental health voice around the table.

However, I think I may have a way through this. We need to look back to the discussions we had on Tuesday about the overriding importance of mental health being explicitly mentioned in the triple aims. If such an aim were in place, I think we would be hard pushed to form an ICS or an ICB without mental health representation and we might be able to argue that it is not necessary, in those circumstances, to have it in the Bill. However, if that aim is not explicit, then the argument put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Bradley, is very strong indeed.

Lord Bishop of London Portrait The Lord Bishop of London
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My Lords, I rose on the first day of this Committee to speak to the membership of NHS boards. I rise today for a similar reason: I think it is very difficult to stipulate the membership of boards, just as the noble Baroness has said. However, as I said with NHS boards, I say with ICB boards that I think the voice of the patient is central. Along with my role as the Government’s Chief Nursing Officer, I was director of patient experience while I was in the Department of Health. As a nurse at that time, I believed I had a patient focus. However, I learned that my default was always as a professional and that the patient needs a voice and empowerment. While I recognise the clinical voice and would always want it on the NHS board and the ICB board, it does not replace the voice of the patient and the carer.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage
Tuesday 18th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Health and Care Act 2022 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 71-IV Fourth marshalled list for Committee - (18 Jan 2022)
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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I rise to speak to Amendments 51, 98, 141, 151 and 162 in my name and, briefly, the other amendment to which my name is attached. I shall make one opening remark. This group is all about children and young people. I know that all noble Lords feel very strongly about this issue. Children and young people make up 30% of the population but are not mentioned anywhere in the Bill.

Amendment 51 would require integrated care boards to share relevant information and data with key partners in the children’s system and to collect multiagency data from those partners. As the Bill stands, there are a number of crucial areas in which adults are, rightly, set to benefit from improvements to integrated working in ways that children are not. One of the most concerning ways in which it feels to me as though children have been an afterthought in the Bill is in the sharing of data and information.

Barriers to sharing information have been identified over many years as a key barrier to better joint working, commissioning and delivery of services but, due to the invisibility of children in existing data-sharing legislation, the children’s system faces even greater barriers to sharing information than that for adults. However, the measures to improve the sharing of information and data in Part 2 apply only to the adult system. Frankly, I find that inexplicable.

Alongside the noble Lords, Lord Bichard and Lord Hunt, to whom I am very grateful for adding their names to my Amendment 51, I heard numerous accounts of the huge challenges that the NHS and local authorities face in collecting, sharing and interpreting data as part of the recent Public Services Select Committee inquiry into child vulnerability. We heard this time and again. I quote just one sentence from the report:

“poor data-sharing between Government departments and local agencies endangered vulnerable children and their families by undermining safeguarding arrangements and preventing referrals for early help.”

As we heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Masham, following the heartbreaking murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Star Hobson and other vulnerable children in this country, it is essential that arrangements for data sharing between the health system and local authorities for babies, children and young people are urgently improved. As I have said, Part 2 focuses on data sharing between health and adult social care but does not extend this to the children’s system. It is not just that children are not specifically included in the wording of the Bill; they have been explicitly excluded.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, said, colleagues in the sector, including the National Children’s Bureau—to which I am very grateful for its help and support on these amendments—have engaged in discussion with officials on this issue. I was pleased to hear that this engagement is going well and is set to continue, but I hope to secure today the Minister’s agreement to look again at this issue, which is in the best interests of vulnerable children in this country.

Amendment 98 would add the discharge of duty as a safeguarding partner to the general duties of ICBs in Clause 20. It would require new regulations that specify how ICBs should perform the statutory child safeguarding duty when it is transferred to them from CCGs, which are obviously abolished as a result of the Bill. Although the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children already sets out the responsibilities of a safeguarding partner, the recent tragic events that I have just referred to show that a more robust legislative approach is needed to ensure that children are properly protected by a really effective multiagency safeguarding system.

It was heartbreaking, and I know that all noble Lords in the Chamber were shocked when they heard the details of the tragic death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, a six year-old boy who suffered prolonged abuse and was murdered by the very people who were supposed to keep him safe. I recently met the NSPCC, which highlighted government data showing 536 incidents involving the death or serious harm of a child due to abuse or neglect in 2020-21.

Sadly, young Arthur’s case is only one of far too many, but health practitioners such as GPs, nurses, midwives and health visitors are in a prime position to recognise and report safeguarding concerns; during medical examinations they might identify signs of physical or sexual abuse. Missed medical appointments can also indicate neglect. As the strategic safeguarding leader, the ICB will be responsible for ensuring that health practitioners are fully supported to work with other agencies on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Alan Wood’s review from 2021, which has been discussed in the Chamber on a number of occasions, makes clear recommendations on strengthening the existing safeguarding arrangements, which came into effect in 2019, including by ensuring effective leadership, data sharing and scrutiny. The Bill offers a golden opportunity to act on these amendments to bolster local health partners’ role as a lead safeguarding partner and to embed effective joint practices that really do keep children safe.

Amendment 141 would require NHS England to assess how well an integrated care board has met the needs of children and young people in its area. In order to make a judgment about this, the amendment would require NHS England to publish an accountability framework for setting out national priorities for children and young people. Among other things, ICBs will have a crucial role in commissioning primary and community healthcare services directly for children and young people. They will play a key role in jointly commissioning services for disabled children and those with special educational needs, and in contributing to education, health and care plans, and they will be crucial in commissioning the joined-up services in the first 1,000 days of life, which the Government, to their credit, are investing in.

However, as we all know, there is unwarranted variation, with the support that children and young people receive in the health service often based on where they live rather than on their level of need. This amendment would create much needed accountability for integrated care boards and provide an overarching framework for children’s health that ICBs can work within, importantly without being prescriptive in any way about how local systems fulfil their duties.

Turning to Amendment 151, Clause 21 requires every integrated care partnership to develop an integrated care strategy. The amendment would require ICPs to consider specifically the needs of babies, children and young people when developing this strategy. I think the Minister knows my concern and that of other noble Lords—the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, referred to it—that if we do not refer explicitly to children in the Bill, they will not be given priority equal to the adult population’s when it comes to implementation. Sadly, experience shows that when legislation does not explicitly require health systems to consider children, they are often overlooked in subsequent implementation.

Children and young people have distinct development needs. They use a distinct health and care system staffed by a distinct workforce with its own training, and they are covered by distinct legislation. Simply hoping that integrated care systems will take full account of that of their own accord will just not cut it. A more robust legislative approach is needed. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, I was also pleased to hear that the Minister in the other place recognised the importance of focusing on children and families in the new ICS structures and made a commitment that the Government would develop bespoke guidance for integrated care systems on meeting the needs of babies, children and young people. That is why I support Amendment 177 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, and to which my name is attached, to put this guidance on a statutory footing.

Amendment 162, on Clause 26, would require the Care Quality Commission to work jointly with Ofsted to plan and conduct reviews into the provision of health and children’s social care in integrated care board areas.

Again, I refer back to my experience as a member of the Lords Public Services Select Committee. I can confirm, as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, will be able to, that the committee investigated the role played by the relevant regulators and inspectorates. Indeed, we took evidence from the senior leaders of the relevant inspectorates and regulators, specifically Ofsted and the CQC. Our conclusion was that, despite the very best intentions, these inspectorates do not work together closely enough or have a truly integrated approach. It is telling that our report revealed that the CQC itself called on the Bill

“to give it the ‘ability to look at [the] care of children across all settings’ as part of its regulation of Integrated Care Systems”.

I believe that the Bill should give the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted powers jointly to hold integrated care systems, service providers and local decision-makers accountable for the long-term outcomes for children’s health, including health inequalities.

I very much support Amendment 177 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher. It has been explained and it very much goes with the grain of my other amendments.

I also strongly support Amendment 142 in the name of my noble friend Lady Walmsley, which would provide an opportunity for the Government to ensure that children and young people are prioritised on ICBs while maintaining local flexibility, which is important. An impact assessment would allow for good practice to be shared quickly and for both Houses to exercise effective scrutiny over the implementation of this legislation.

On Amendment 87 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, the idea of the appointment of a strategic clinical lead for children and young people’s health is an excellent proposal, but I will leave the noble Baroness to express that.

In conclusion, the Government have a very important agenda for children. There are a lot of things that they are trying to do. I strongly support most of them but I really feel that we must have an effective legislative framework to allow that agenda to be taken forward successfully.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Portrait Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (CB)
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My Lords, this group of amendments is particularly important because it concerns the next generation, addressing children and young people’s health and social care needs. As has been said, I have tabled Amendment 87. I have also put my name to Amendments 141, 151 and 162, introduced so comprehensively by the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler. I also support the other amendments in this group.

These amendments address how the needs of children and young people aged nought to 25 will be met by the relevant healthcare and social care provision within the area of each integrated care board. A bonus from recognising this in the Bill would be the encompassing of young people with learning difficulties and autism, whom we discussed last week.

I was struck by a figure raised during the debate in the other place. According to Young Minds, 77%—more than three-quarters—of sustainability and transformation partnerships failed to consider children’s needs sufficiently. Only one of the 42 ICSs in existence listed a strategic lead for children and young people. Given the range of agencies and pathways, someone must have responsibility for the integration of services at the local level and for listening to the needs of young people.

More than 12.6 million children aged 18 and under live in England, yet the Bill reads as if it is written by adults for adults. Let us not forget that an estimated 800,000 children in England are child carers and more than 250,000 of them are likely to be providing high levels of care for their relative.

Alarmingly, the UK is fifth from bottom among 27 European countries for infant mortality, and one in six children has a diagnosable mental health condition. The number of children in looked-after care is rising and we have heard terrible stories of children whose lives have been lost through abuse and illness.

Health and Care Bill Debate

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Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage
Tuesday 18th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I support this group of amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. My name is attached to Amendment 149, but I want to talk more generally about this group. Like the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I am very supportive of the work of Healthwatch, at both national and local level. It provides very helpful and important insights about what it is like to be at the receiving end of our healthcare system. We sometimes do not hear quite enough about that. The national-local structure is helpful, ensuring that local bottom-up insights are then reflected in national-level reports.

Like the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I have found some of the reports produced by Healthwatch recently, and during the pandemic, extremely helpful. I am thinking of its work on mental health—particularly, children’s mental health. It has also done a series of projects on social care that are very relevant to the current situation. One project particularly dear to my heart involved engaging with care home residents and their loved ones, and feeding insights into the development of national visiting guidance—very practical, important work. Another recent report, which I have already quoted in your Lordships’ House, looked at vaccine confidence and, particularly, what might need to be done to help support those communities with a higher degree of vaccine hesitancy; again, Healthwatch does some really important work.

I turn now to the amendments more specifically. In the recent survey of ICS leaders for Healthwatch England and NHS England, 80% of respondents said that they would support Healthwatch having a formal seat on the ICB if this was set out in legislation or guidance. We have already heard the question: what about the other 20%? Should noble Lords have the time, I recommend a quick look at the Healthwatch document and the survey, mapping the relationship between local Healthwatch and integrated care systems. There is a lot of important information in it. I particularly noted in the survey that 100% of ICS respondents said that they would support a mandated seat for Healthwatch on the integrated care partnership. That was one of the main reasons that I wanted to add my name to Amendment 149.

Fundamentally, why I think this so important is that I am not convinced that, in all our important deliberations so far, sufficient weight has been given to what we might call the service user voice or the individual patient voice more generally. These deliberations have, understandably, been very much about structures and how these new integrated care systems will work. I feel that there is scope for the Bill to set out some minimum requirements to ensure that the patient voice is heard at the decision-making table. It is fine to have lots of other sentiments about patient voices but, are they there, and are they heard at that table?

The principle is really quite simple. Patient choice at an individual level—that is, in relation to the patient’s own healthcare—has changed radically. We have moved from a situation where the doctor knows best and will tell you what is happening to the doctor setting out the options and you making a decision with the doctor—almost a co-produced decision. We need to think more about that approach, at the community level, the local level and then the integrated care system level. This will be particularly important in relation to tackling health inequalities because, frankly, if people are not involved in the decision-making or feel that their voice is not being heard, they often do not trust the outcome.

A recurrent theme in our discussions so far has been who should be on what body. We have had those big debates about whether there should be public health and mental health representatives and so on, which are very important, and those conversations still have some way to go, and we have just had this very interesting debate about place-based partnerships and “insiders” and “outsiders”. Again, that has quite a long way to go, but it would be ridiculous if the patient was seen as the outsider; patients need to be front and centre of all this and the reason we are undertaking a restructuring in the first place.

My main plea is that in all our discussions we consider the user voice and how it can be heard. I think that Healthwatch is an obvious way of doing it; it has the existing infrastructure. There may well be other ways of doing it, but that was the reason I was keen to support the noble Lord, Lord Hunt.

Lord Harris of Haringey Portrait Lord Harris of Haringey (Lab)
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My Lords, I refer to my health interests as declared in the register; in particular, I chair the General Dental Council, but I should make it clear that I am not speaking on its behalf in Committee.

Almost exactly 35 years ago, I became director of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales, which was then the national statutory body representing the interests of the patients and the public in the NHS. Since then, both local and national representation of patients has gone through a series of iterations—indeed, the number of occasions on which I have been sitting on the opposite side of the Chamber from the noble Earl, Lord Howe, talking about patient representation seems too many to recount. After community health councils, we went through a series of iterations of which local Healthwatch is the latest version. I admit that when we had the debate which my noble friend Lord Hunt began by referring to, I was extremely dubious about whether local Healthwatch would be able to flourish and the national body be effective. I have to say that my worst fears have not been founded, but it has to be recognised that the way in which it was structured, in particular the late changes introduced by the Government during that legislation, made it much more difficult for Healthwatch, both at local and at national level, to be as effective as it might be.

The context of this debate is the centrality of patients and service users in delivery. Every time the NHS is reorganised, whether it was the reorganisation of the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, or the reorganisations we have every three years or so, there is always a grand White Paper which says, “Patients will be at the centre of this new structure”, but it is never quite like that. In the new arrangements being brought forward, the Government need to make sure that the local patient voice is represented and articulated and that, at national level, those voices can be aggregated and put forward. That is why this group of amendments is so important.

We have just had a debate which ended up revolving around how many separate interests should be represented on the various bodies that we are creating. I can see the problems if we add and add, and how difficult that is going to be. However, what I hope the Government will take away from the consideration of this amendment and look at before Report is how they can make the patient representative structure within the future arrangements better and more effective. I think that a number of things could be done.

The first is about the budgets. The budgets for local Healthwatch go through a complicated, notional process. It is very difficult to define why the allocations are what they are. It would be far better if it was clear what the expectations were to run a local Healthwatch and to deliver what is needed.

The second thing that can be done concerns the degrees of independence: from the local authority, health providers and health commissioners, at the local level, and from the CQC at the national level. The noble Lord, Lord Patel, talked about the problems of Healthwatch England being a sub-committee of the CQC. I understand that the relationship has actually worked quite well, but that is probably because of the good will of all concerned. It might be that, in the future, Healthwatch England has serious criticisms of the regulator. How can it do that, as a sub-committee of that body? Whether formally or informally, you can see the difficulties.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Committee stage
Thursday 20th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Scriven Portrait Lord Scriven (LD)
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My Lords, I support Amendments 85 and 88 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins.

We must be clear. The previous two speeches highlighted the elephant in the room: you cannot have integration on a sustainable basis unless you reform health and social care together. We have to be honest with ourselves that this Bill is predominantly about the reform of healthcare.

That was highlighted eloquently in the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, in response to my noble friend Lady Barker, about who should commission sexual health services. These have been lobbed to the side of the commissioning silo but it should be about how to break down this silo so that we have joint and sustainable commissioning around outcomes, rather than around which silo or which part of the health and social care framework should deal with it. It is the elephant in the room, but we are where we are so we must make this Bill better knowing that that is the real issue.

This is about three little words: social care services. It is clear to those who understand health and social care that the Bill has been written predominantly through the lens of healthcare. I do not blame anybody for that but clearly this is a healthcare commissioning reform Bill, with a little tinkering with the structure, and does not deal predominantly with those people who do not understand social care—unless they are asking for an NHS long-term care package, when the argument tends to be about not the care provided but the funding, including who is going to fund what part. That is when it affects people’s outcomes. Those three little words are really important, which is why the noble Baroness’s amendments are important. If they were accepted, the Bill would actually say that social care service and health outcomes are jointly important.

It is important that this is about integration. The noble Baronesses, Lady Pitkeathley and Lady Hollins, said that there is a significant difference between collaboration and integration. You can have two people collaborate but, if their silos send them in different directions, the outcomes will not be joint. The real issue is how we bring about integration. It will not solve all the problems but it will help to bring about the first stage of integration if you have a joint framework on outcomes for which both healthcare and social care are held accountable. That is why Amendment 88 is so important.

The Bill’s intention goes in the right direction but the three amendments in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, will significantly help in that journey. They will not solve the problems fully but they are an important way to say to people who work in health and social care that they will be held responsible for the outcomes of individuals, whether their needs come under healthcare or social care. That is why I support these amendments.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I support Amendment 101B in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Layard. Before I speak to it, I want to say how much I agree with the sentiment expressed by noble Lords on all Benches that true integration will be achieved only if the Bill is as much about social care as it is about health. It is such a fundamental point that I wanted to underline it.

I see Amendment 101B as an important continuation of our deliberations last week on parity of esteem because “parity of esteem” are simply meaningless words unless they are reflected in the provision of funding. First, like the noble Baroness, Lady Watkins, I acknowledge the welcome fact that NHS England has met its commitment to ensure that the increase in local funding for mental health is at least in line with the overall increase in the money available to CCGs through the mental health investment standard. It is also welcome that, from 2019-20 onwards, as part of the NHS long-term plan, that standard also includes a further commitment that local funding for mental health will grow by an additional percentage increment to reflect the additional mental health funding being made available to CCGs. I recognise all of that.

But—and it is a big but—the investment standard relates only to CCGs, and that total spending had already declined in 2019-20 compared with 2018-19 as a percentage of total NHSE revenue spend. Also, given the urgent need for healthcare, which, as other noble Lords have said, has been much exacerbated by the pandemic, this amendment would help strengthen the consideration of mental health services when large amounts of money are announced for Covid recovery—this is welcome—but it all falls outside the remit of the mental health investment standard.

We need to know how much of the money is currently going to preventive and community services—prevention is the overarching theme of this group of amendments—as opposed to acute services. We also need to know whether the spending increases we are seeing are simply because crisis services are so in demand; indeed, they are overwhelmed in some cases. We know from a recent survey by the Royal College of Psychiatrists that two-fifths of patients awaiting mental health treatment contact emergency or crisis services, with one in nine ending up in A&E. That is not a sustainable position.

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Baroness Morris of Yardley Portrait Baroness Morris of Yardley (Lab)
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My Lords, I also wish to support the amendments that have been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, and supported by other speakers. I do not want to make a long speech, but I want to add weight to the argument by standing up and offering support. I will not repeat his arguments, but I want to pay tribute to the work that the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, has done in this regard. He chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group which produced a report that was pivotal in taking this debate forward. The work that he has done with the National Centre for Creative Health has given us an army of evidence on its importance.

The amendments seem to fall into two groups. There are those around social prescribing for people with dementia as the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, said, and the notion of health promotion by creating a better environment in which we live and preventing illness. That collection of amendments is an idea whose time has come. There is an amendment for later consideration to which I have added my name, for which the same arguments are being made for sport and recreation. I think of this as the whole area of health promotion, which is looking at non-clinical providers of healthcare. I think these amendments follow on very well from the last group of amendments that was debated.

The noble Lord, Lord Scriven, talked about the aims of this legislation as being about promoting well-being, and the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege, gave a very good example of how a community centre that had doctors in it has become a medical centre, and the message that they gave. Every single one of us here could make the arguments that we have heard so far, either from our own example—from our own health and well-being—or from something we have seen.

I wanted to mention two things. First, I declare an interest: I am director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the work that it does with Mersey Care NHS Foundation is magical. It sometimes goes unnoticed outside the region, but people with quite serious mental health needs are finding their well-being is promoted. They are enjoying themselves and feel more part of the community.

My second example is some work I did in Derbyshire with a charity of which I was patron, First Taste. The artwork it did in a care home meant that the prescription of drugs for sleeping and other things was reduced. All those arguments can be well made but my problem is this: I would have put money on no one standing up and arguing against these amendments. If you could stop 50 people out there and find three who will argue against these amendments, I would say “Well done”.

The danger for this area of policy is that no one is against it, but not enough is being done to get it to the top of the agenda. Sometimes, when no one is against it, you do not have the argument that promotes it up the national agenda. Everyone says “Great”, “We agree”, “It will be a great thing” and nothing happens. The stage of this area of policy is that everybody is doing a little bit. It is in the long-term plan. There are examples of good practice. We have the evidence that it works and the Government are investing some money, but it is never going to be an entitlement or a policy that has been enacted nationally unless something else happens.

In all public sector policies—it is the same in education—the biggest challenge is scaling up good practice. We now have lots of examples of good practice. What we need, and what is behind this amendment, is to scale it up so that it is not just a case of happening to live near an organisation or where somebody is making this happen. The amendments that we have, which are to the general duties of the integrated care boards, will be a step forward in trying to make this a national part of our well-being service. You are entitled to it; it is there and offered to you, no matter where you live.

That is the big task now. It is not making the case for social prescribing or non-clinical providers having a role to play in health promotion, but how we scale it up so that it goes higher up the agenda of people who are developing policy and deciding how resources should be spent in an area. Years ago, this would have been seen as a fringe interest and people might have thought the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, was eccentric in promoting such amendments. It is evidence-based now. It is what people know works and I think it is what people want. We just have to find a way of getting it up the agenda and making it happen. These amendments will go towards that end.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I rise briefly to support this suite of amendments put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Howarth. I know how passionate he feels about this issue and how much work he has done in this area over many years. The noble Baroness, Lady Morris, has just taken the words right out of my mouth; I was going to start by saying that social prescribing is a phenomenon whose time has come. I think that is right. People understand that the approach of social prescribing is really opening up opportunities for people to improve health and well-being through non-clinical avenues. That is what this set of amendments is all about.

This is particularly relevant for people with long-term conditions and complex needs, particularly those with mental health conditions, suffering from dementia or experiencing loneliness. The one point I want to make, which I do not think has been talked about yet, goes right back to our opening debate today about how the ambitions of this Bill will be achieved only if there is true integration across health and social care. My big plea is: please do not forget social care when we are looking at this issue. When I say social care, I am thinking both about people who have domiciliary care in their own homes and people in care settings.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage
Wednesday 26th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Finally, it is with humility that I propose amending the Children Act 1989. Internationally, it is highly respected and much copied. However, the intention of my amendments is to fulfil its key principles: the emphasis on prevention, on keeping children with their families wherever possible and on ensuring that help is available for parents who struggle to nurture their children or provide a safe and stable environment in which they can thrive. I commend these amendments to the Committee.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I lend my voice to this important group of amendments. I will explain very briefly why family hubs are so important to many of the big themes that we have been discussing in the Bill so far: prevention, early help and integration in particular.

Family hubs have a very important role to play in improving early intervention services and helping with integration and data sharing, as we discussed earlier, among public services and the voluntary sector. Importantly, as the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, explained, the range of services available in family hubs often includes important services such as children’s health services, which are better delivered in a community setting and integrated with other family health services, rather than delivered in a hospital or somewhere that has a much greater focus on acute care.

The Public Services Committee, on which I served until very recently, produced what I thought was a very important report on vulnerable children recently. It put a national rollout of family hubs at the very core of a national strategy for child vulnerability, proposing that the most deprived communities be prioritised in the early stages of any such expansion. In our report, we set out what fundamental characteristics we thought should be at the heart of every family hub, including employing full-time family co-ordinators, offering addiction and domestic violence services, providing support for parents with poor mental health and organising parenting classes. I say that, because I hope that it illustrates the point I made about integration between health services and broader family support services.

I had the privilege as a committee member—I think the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, was with me—to visit Westminster family hub. I sat down and talked to a young mother with two young children who had a lot of very difficult issues that they were dealing with. The mother explained how the help and support she was getting through the family hub, both with her health issues and those of her children, as well as a wider range of issues, were helping her to keep her head above water. I was so impressed with that family hub and the help and support it was giving, and the way it was integrating statutory services and the voluntary sector.

I will make two other brief but important points. First, family hubs will be working with children from birth to 19. I see that as important, because families face challenges at any time, not just when children are very young, and focusing solely on early years and not helping families with older children does not have the same sort of holistic approach. So it is extremely helpful if, during early years, families build up these trusted relationships with people they meet in family support hubs of the type I have described, rather than sever that relationship when the child reaches the age of five. Parents can continue to contact a familiar team and access that trusted source of information and advice.

My final point to emphasise is the importance of family relationships and relationship support. One key thing about family hubs that is very important is the work they do to prioritise help with relationships—it might be couple relationships, parent-child relationships or even sibling relationships. By being able to deliver counselling and various other programmes to address some of the conflict and breakdown that often affects families in these difficult situations, they often help avoid the whole family reaching crisis point, particularly to the extent that parents have to access the courts to resolve disputes. For all these reasons, I very much support the amendments.

Health and Care Bill Debate

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Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage
Wednesday 26th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

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Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, perhaps I may make two quick points. At an earlier stage in the Committee, using the example from the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, in relation to Bromley by Bow and north-east London, I asked why the legislation cannot allow clinical commissioning groups, as they have established themselves over years, to continue as place-based committees or subsidiary elements of an integrated care system. I am sure that many of them would be willing to do so; we should allow them to do exactly that, because there is otherwise a gap in relation to how large ICBs will do their place-based work.

Secondly, the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, referred to what I said about provider collaboratives. I still think it. Where are we going to end up with this? It will be with NHS England having within it, as each integrated care board has within it, the provider interest and the commissioner interest. The Government purport to be abolishing the purchaser/provider split. Every Secretary of State prior to the former Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, seemed to believe in it, with the exception of Frank Dobson. There was a reason why we did that: because it is a fact. We might legislatively abolish the purchaser/provider split, but, in reality, it will exist. As my noble friend Lord Hunt of Wirral said earlier, if that conflict of interest is not properly recognised and managed, it will emerge with potentially damaging consequences. Transparency about how provider interests are to be properly managed inside the NHS is not something I yet see in the substance of the Bill. I hope that my noble friend on the Front Bench will agree to think hard about this and perhaps talk about how we might give transparency and accountability to that conflict of interest.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I have added my name to Amendment 165 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt. This is a small but important group of amendments.

I have added my name to the amendment because I am interested in what is happening to primary care and particularly the voice of GPs in the new arrangements. Frankly, we are not hearing much about them. As it stands, the legislation will place NHS trusts and foundation trusts in quite a privileged position in deciding how plans are made and resources allocated. I am not quite sure where the voice of GPs comes into the new arrangements. I understand that NHS England has commissioned a review of the role of primary care in the NHS structures, but my understanding is also that it will not report until after the Bill has been passed if we continue with the current timetable. Frankly, by then, it will be a bit late to make sure that we have got the arrangements absolutely right.

It is right that primary care commissioning is undertaken at a local level by people with relevant knowledge and skills, and with the necessary experience of what primary care needs to look like at locality level. That is why it is right that the new place-based partnerships are to be given that commissioning role. However, like the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I think it is important that these primary care commissioning arrangements are established in statute, because it is only if that happens that Parliament will be clear about the accountability arrangements and the governance and leadership. It is also important that there is real transparency in the system. At the moment, it all feels a bit opaque. I hope that the Minister can give some assurances on this point.

Lord Stevens of Birmingham Portrait Lord Stevens of Birmingham (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I just wanted to respond to the last set of very important questions that have arisen. It is fair to say that the Bill increases the accountability for commissioning primary care services locally, as compared with its predecessor, the 2012 Act. That is because one consequence of having GPs represented on the clinical commissioning groups was that clinical commissioning groups could not, therefore, be the commissioners of local primary care services, at least in statute. One had the paradox that the most local of all the services in the NHS was stripped out from the local commissioning bodies, the CCGs, and instead given nationally to NHS England, as a work-around to deal with the conflict of interest that GPs would otherwise have had in commissioning themselves on the CCGs.

In practice, the CCGs have been given the ability to influence those local commissioning arrangements but, to be clear, that is not the accountability mechanism set through the 2012 Act. What this Bill does is to improve the position, in that it is local integrated care boards that have that local commissioning responsibility for GP and other family health services, as compared with NHS England nationally.

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Not all of my reassurances today have landed well, but I hope I have provided reassurance to the Committee that place-based commissioning structures are already an intention and sufficiently catered for in the current provisions, and that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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Before the Minister sits down, is he in a position to answer the question I asked about the timing of the review regarding the position of GPs within this new set of arrangements?

Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I shall need to write to the noble Baroness about that timing because I do not have it. I meant to say that I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, for his intervention on the way in which we hope that primary care will be better built into the commissioning arrangements than it has been up to now.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage
Monday 31st January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait Baroness Watkins of Tavistock (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak on this group of amendments, but I want to focus particularly on Amendment 219. There are around 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, a number which increased to 13.6 million, or about one-fifth of the population, during the height of the pandemic. Some 1.4 million people provide more than 50 hours of unpaid care per week. Unpaid carers are often relied on to provide this care, yet receive minimal or no formal support themselves. Instead, many report feeling isolated, undervalued and pressured by the challenges of stress and responsibility. Being a carer is emotional and physical labour.

A lot has been said about the Carers UK survey, which identified that 56% of unpaid carers were not involved in decisions about patients’ discharge, with seven out of 10 respondents not being asked whether they were able to cope with having the patient back home and six out of 10 receiving insufficient support to protect their own or the patient’s health and well-being. This lack of support reflects the absence of a unified and systematic approach to identifying and supporting unpaid carers. It demands urgent remediation, especially as we know that unpaid carers are twice as likely as non-carers to have ill health, and the majority have reported worsening mental and physical health during the pandemic.

I endorse Amendment 219 because it talks about carers who work with people who come into contact not just with hospital services but with NHS services. In my work as a community mental health nurse, in many instances I saw that people were not admitted to hospital for years—which was actually a very good outcome—but their carers’ needs were just as great in supporting them with long-term problems in their own homes. This amendment would create a duty in respect of any person receiving NHS care, whether that is in the community or in hospital. The NHS must identify unpaid carers, particularly young carers, and ensure that their health and well-being are properly considered. This is a vital public health duty.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I strongly support this group of amendments. I particularly endorse Amendment 269 regarding young carers, which was spoken to so compellingly by the noble Lord, Lord Young.

I wish to speak primarily about Amendment 221, to which my name is attached. It is about protecting existing rights of carers. I know that the point has already been made, but it is worth repeating. Amendment 221 would retain existing rights being taken away by this Bill as it repeals the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003. I find that a pretty extraordinary position to be in.

I want briefly to focus on the impact of caring particularly on women and employment, without in any way wishing to diminish the very important role played by male carers within the family. It is just a fact that women are more likely than men to be carers. According to some research conducted by Carers UK with the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham, women have a good chance of becoming carers 11 years before men. Women are also more likely to reduce their working hours in order to care, and they are more likely as a result to have lower incomes and end up under-pensioned in retirement.

As we have heard, hospital discharge can be a pivotal moment for people providing care, particularly women. This amendment would ensure that assumptions are not made about carers’ ability to care, even when they may be working at the same time, that a solution is discussed and, ideally, agreed between families and services, and that carers are provided with the support they need to enable them to care safely and well. For those carers who are juggling work and care, which I can relate to personally, it is essential that their health and well-being are supported. This also has a positive benefit for employers. During the pandemic, the Carers UK research already referred to found an increase of around 2.8 million in the number of people who were juggling work and care, the majority of whom were women. Prior to the pandemic, some 600 carers a day were giving up work to care. During the pandemic, as the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, reminded us, carers have become the backbone of the care system, protecting the NHS and social care in many cases from collapse.

The Carers UK research also found that 72% of carers providing substantial care and working were worried about continuing to juggle care and work, and 77% of carers said that they felt tired all the time at work because of their caring responsibilities. During the pandemic, 23% of working-age carers providing substantial care had given up work, lost their jobs, lowered working hours or lost income if they were self-employed.

As the NHS works to reduce the backlog of care, hospital discharges will become ever more critical, as will support for carers. The two go hand in hand, and we must not fail those who have so selflessly shouldered such a heavy load.

Baroness Altmann Portrait Baroness Altmann (Con)
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My Lords, I shall speak to all the amendments in this group, but I have added my name to Amendment 217 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Wheeler. There are two separate but related issues in this group of amendments, and it might be helpful for a moment to focus on them. The first is the needs of patients who are facing discharge from hospital. The second is the needs of unpaid carers in situations where patients are sent home from hospital. That second issue is covered particularly by Amendments 219, 221, 225 and 269. I support all of them, and commend the work and the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, and the passionate speech from my noble friend Lord Young.

I wholeheartedly share the concerns about the repeal of the provisions in the Care Act 2014. The issue of patients needing to be discharged from hospital sometimes seems to be spoken of as if we are discussing objects rather than people.

Health and Care Bill Debate

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Department: Leader of the House

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Committee stage
Friday 4th February 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Brinton Portrait Baroness Brinton (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I support Amendments 237, 238 and 239 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, which aim to ensure that private providers are regulated, especially those using obfuscatory financial structures, instruments with inter-company loans and large amounts of debt. They should be fully transparent about those arrangements. She was right to highlight the excellent reporting of the Financial Times on this, along with the financial editors and journalists of other papers.

The typical small business social care home owner does not fall into the category I have just described. The problem in the sector is the private equity providers who decided to start buying up care home groups because they felt that the assets could be milked to provide healthy-looking returns for them. This differs from those homes borrowing in order to, perhaps, buy new homes to enlarge their group; what is happening here is purely financial instruments to benefit the directors and investors. Typically, private equity-backed providers spend around 16% of the bed fee on complex buyout debt obligations. The accounts of Care UK show that it paid £4.1 million in rent in 2019 to Silver Sea Holdings—a company registered in low-tax Luxembourg, which is also owned by Care UK’s parent company, Bridgepoint.

These kinds of buyouts are also associated with an 18% increase in risk of bankruptcy for the target company. In the case of Four Seasons Health Care, heavy debt payments contributed to the company’s collapse into administration in 2019. Two of the other largest care home providers in the UK, HC-One and Care UK, have also undergone leveraged buyouts and, as a result, their corporate group structures remain saddled with significant debts. Some of these types of company are also struggling to provide the best possible care with their overall CQC scores—so it is affecting the lives of the most vulnerable patients.

The Office for National Statistics says that 63% of care home residents are paid for by the public purse. Surely the Government must have a duty towards the public purse. It is not acceptable for the public purse to pay for these complex financial arrangements that are intended to provide not care or capital for the growth of a care business but purely a larger return for directors and shareholders. These amendments would provide for transparency and accountability and an assurance that the public purse and the private payer are not being taken for a ride.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I support these amendments from the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett. I thank her for putting them forward. The care sector is both complex and very little understood. Back in 2020, there were approximately 15,000 care homes in the UK, run by approximately 8,000 providers. Some were very small; others were providing very large networks of homes—it is a mixed economy. These figures are a couple of years old but, at that time, 84% of homes were run by the private sector, including by private equity firms, both British and offshore.

Funding is a complex mix of private funders, local authorities and the NHS. I was very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, for highlighting the work that the Financial Times has done, because I was first alerted to this issue by an investigation that the paper did back in 2019 which revealed how Britain’s four largest privately owned care home operators had racked up debts of £40,000 per bed, meaning that their annual interest charges absorbed eight weeks of average fees paid by local authorities on behalf of residents. Many have argued, and I absolutely agree, that this sort of debt-laden model, which demands an unsustainable level of return while shipping out profits of 12% to 16%, often to tax havens, is entirely inappropriate for social care.

I want to make it clear that I do not have an ideological problem with the private sector being involved in the care sector and providing care homes—provided that they are good quality—but I have a real problem with the financial models used. Most fair-minded people in this country, not least those whose loved ones are in care homes, would, frankly, be horrified if they knew how the money—either theirs, if they are self-funded residents, or indeed the money of hard-pressed local authorities—was being used and where it was being siphoned off to.

I greatly support amendments to increase transparency and reporting. Frankly, I would like to see the regulator being a lot tougher and a lot more proactive in this area, so I very much support the review in the amendment put forward by the noble Baroness.

Baroness Altmann Portrait Baroness Altmann (Con)
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My Lords, I support the thrust of the amendments laid by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett. I fully agree with her that there is a systemic problem in the care home sector.

In 1991, the community care Act reforms meant social care was transferred from a public sector function—or NHS function when it came to nursing homes—to what was called a mixed market. But, having observed the worsening care crisis, the financial engineering, the periodic failure of large care home operators and the inadequacy of regulation or oversight of their financial backing, I cannot help but urge my noble friends on the Front Bench to look urgently at the need for much greater controls. Southern Cross and Four Seasons Health Care have been in and out of insolvency or near bankruptcy for the past few years, but there are still inadequate controls on their ownership structure.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage
Wednesday 9th February 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I support Amendments 297A and 297D. I will be brief, because we have already had a very lengthy and wide-ranging debate. The amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson, is important, and she has set out the case for a named GP very well. As people become older, they tend to develop a more complicated and interrelated set of healthcare needs, and a GP who has that overview and can liaise with the family is extremely important.

I will add two quick points that have not come up in the debate so far. First, it might sound like a statement of the blindingly obvious, but for this very desirable amendment to happen, there need to be enough GPs in the system. Frankly, I am concerned that, despite commitments from the Government to increase the number of GPs by 6,000 by 2025, there is no current plan for how this will be achieved. The number of qualified full-time equivalent GPs is smaller today than it was in 2015.

Secondly, in relation to health inequalities, it is matter of real concern that GP practices serving more deprived populations receive less funding and often serve much larger numbers of patients than GPs in more affluent areas. I looked at the figures, which I will not repeat, and there are huge disparities in the size of the lists that they serve. I feel that passing an amendment of this sort on continuity of care would most likely benefit patients in the most deprived areas. With this debate, and if this amendment were accepted, I hope that there would be more pressure on the system to relieve that very unhelpful trend.

Amendment 297D is an extremely important amendment, and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, for raising it. I do not want to repeat what he said, save to say that I would see this review as a first step towards strengthening the rights of care home residents and their relatives to visit, to keep in touch and to spot the signs of abuse. We all understand how hard the pandemic has been. Most care homes have done their level best, despite a lack of access to PPE and testing in the early days. None the less, many of the visiting restrictions that have been imposed have far too often been blanket restrictions, rather than restrictions that took individual cases and individual needs into account.

We had the repeat Statement from the Minister last week on vaccinations, and we were told that there is now no limit on the number of visitors allowed in care homes. I can tell noble Lords that I have not been able to visit my mother inside her care home since before Christmas, because there have been continuous outbreaks of Covid. Often it affects only two people, but that is enough to shut the care home down. This is why there needs to be a more proportionate and individually judged approach to these things.

Finally, if we had a review of this sort and could strengthen rights, I would hope that we could also strengthen the human rights of care home residents, including self-funded residents who currently have no recourse to the Human Rights Act, which is fundamentally unfair.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
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My Lords, I attached my name to Amendment 290 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, but I support all these amendments. The comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Watkins, on Amendment 291 were particularly important as an improvement, but it is still crucial that this is all looked at holistically.

I will confine my remarks to Amendment 290, which is about social prescribing for dementia, focusing in particular on music and the arts. We have discussed social prescribing extensively and I will not go back over that ground. However, I will note how much the Alzheimer’s Society website stresses the importance of music and the arts for the quality of life and care of Alzheimer’s patients, and dementia patients more broadly.

I want to join up a couple of dots. The amendment talks about ensuring that health professionals are aware of the benefits, but I would like to word it much more strongly to ensure that this is regarded as an essential part of care, not a luxury add-on extra—“If we can find the money we’ll do this nice thing”—which all too often is how it is regarded. On that point, I link back to my Amendments 237 to 239, which were debated in a previous Committee session, on ownership of care homes and the flow of funds into care homes, and the fact that 16% to 20% of money in the average care bed is going into financial instruments. If we took two-thirds of that money and put it into more traditional medical, social-type care, and put in some more money for carers to be paid a little better, we would still have some money left for this kind of social prescribing. If we look at that in this context, we see how we join all this up. We really need to stress that social prescribing is an essential part of care, not some luxury add-on extra.

In one more effort to join up the dots, I will make the point that often in your Lordships’ House different people work on different areas and things are not joined up. We have some noble Lords, particularly on the Cross Benches, who do a lot of work in the creative industries, which, financially, are suffering enormously through the Covid pandemic. There is something to be done here in joining up with government-funded projects that help people in the creative sector do some training and get some skills, to enable them to take their skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and energy into social care—thereby spreading economic prosperity and improving people’s quality of life. Let us try to join these things up a bit more and not look at them in silos.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Report stage
Tuesday 1st March 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Stevens of Birmingham Portrait Lord Stevens of Birmingham (CB)
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My Lords, continuing the outbreak of consensus, a large number of mental health stakeholders welcome the fact that the Government have accepted these amendments, which draw heavily on amendments a number of noble Lords brought forward in Committee. I think I said at that point that they would represent a spine-stiffener for the Government in their commitment to ensure that mental health sees a growing share of the growing NHS budget and an accountability booster for the NHS. I think they do that.

However, before the Minister concludes on this item, will he say whether, when setting the mandate for NHS England for the financial year ahead—the mandate that will therefore be laid at some point within the next 30 days—the Government might set the mental health waiting time standards, the very welcome consultation on which concluded last week, in a way that other amendments in this group would look to advance? None of that should detract from the fact that these amendments have wide support outside this place and will make a real difference to mental health in the years to come.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 184, tabled in my name. I shall first respond briefly to the government amendment introduced as a result of the discussions in Committee, which set the context for my amendment. I welcome the government amendment requiring the Secretary of State to publish his expectations about increases in the amount and proportion of mental health spending by NHS England and ICBs. I also welcome amendments requiring NHS England and ICBs to include information about spending relating to mental health in their annual reports.

However, it is stating the obvious to point out that their ability to do so is ultimately reliant on the Government—that includes the Treasury—prioritising sustained growth and investment in mental health. This is critical to avoid a widening care deficit in mental health and inequity between physical and mental health care standards. When I say “a care deficit” I want to explain briefly that the healthcare system is still operating in the context of a mental healthcare deficit, where not all those who need help and treatment will seek it or be able to access it and it is estimated that 1.7 million people are waiting to access mental health services.

That is the context of my Amendment 148. It is designed to build on the welcome government amendments and to provide what I call the critical third pillar of reform, which is service access standards. I welcome the measures that the Government have already taken in relation to access standards as part of the NHS long-term plan, but I believe we need to go a bit further and give them more teeth. Waiting time standards can play a critical role in making progress towards our shared ambition of achieving parity of esteem, particularly in service response times. Standards are a driver to secure the resources needed for services to be able to meet demand in an effective and timely way.

Key to the successful implementation of the service access standards will be two things: first, the funding to develop services in a way that means they can meet these standards without leading to unintended consequences, such as transfer of delays from accessing the system to further down the care pathway; and secondly, a clear expectation that these standards must be matched with a sufficient workforce so that the standards are delivering better care and not shifting problems further down the line.

Having these service access and waiting time standards underpinned by legislation would be a very effective lever for improvement by helping to identify where additional resources are needed. I have looked very carefully at the two points in the response published last week to the consultation on NHS access standards. I think the key points were clear: new targets cannot be introduced without additional funding to support them; respondents were generally strongly supportive of new targets in mental health; quality as well as speed of response is important; and expanding the range of the targets to include preventive and early intervention services would be beneficial.

I took heart from the news release that accompanied the publication of that response. I saw that the Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, said:

“Improving access to mental health services is a top priority. These new standards would help patients get support faster—including having a face-to-face assessment within one hour of being referred from A&E. I know there is more to do and that’s why we’re transforming mental health services in England with an extra £2.3 billion a year and will soon be launching a national conversation to inform a new long term Mental Health Strategy later this year”.


That is all very welcome. With such an endorsement from the Minister in the other place, I hope that the Minister will feel able to support my amendment, which provides that critical third pillar of funding, workforce and waiting time standards to ensure that all those aspirations become a reality.

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I hope noble Lords will agree that, given the amount of comprehensive work already under way and the reports my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has committed to publish, a report such as the one outlined in the amendment is unnecessary. So I beg to move the amendment in my name and hope that the noble Baroness will consider not pressing hers.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for that very detailed and comprehensive response to my amendment. While in an ideal world I would like to see an amendment or measure in the Bill on waiting time standards to complement the other work, I accept that there is an awful lot going on that the Government are committed to. I think we will need to monitor very carefully how effective that is, but I will not press my amendment when the time comes.

Amendment 2 agreed.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Report stage
Thursday 3rd March 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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The proposed amendment would help to deliver on the recommendations of the Wood report by ensuring important multiagency working and accountability for the welfare of babies, children and young people. I urge the Minister to accept the amendment.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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I support and very much welcome government Amendments 36, 157 and 185 in response to the powerful debates in Committee on children’s health, safeguarding, data-sharing and particularly the case for a unique identifier for children, on which I put forward an amendment in Committee. I thank the Minister for engaging so fully and positively on these issues and for the various meetings which led to these amendments being tabled. It is also very welcome that Amendment 36 includes children in the Bill, which so many of us have argued for.

On the unique identifier as a means of identifying children in touch with multiple services, aiding safeguarding and promoting joined-up support, I strongly support the government amendment to lay a report before Parliament on information sharing and on a single unique identifier for children. That is a real step forward, and it is clear that the Government acknowledge that there are serious and distinct challenges with sharing relevant information across not just children and social care sectors but others too, including schools and the police.

There is always more to do, so I will never be 100% satisfied and I note that the amendment as tabled does not actually commit the Government to any specific timed action beyond publishing the report. Therefore, it was good to hear the further assurances that the noble Lord, Lord Kamall, gave at the Dispatch Box. I think I heard him say clearly and unequivocally that the Government are committed to developing plans not just to look at the case for but to adopt a single unique identifier for children. I think I also heard a commitment to developing a set of cross-government proposals for implementing that, and then, I hope, acting on the findings of this report within a defined timescale. If the Minister could reiterate those commitments, I would be extremely grateful. I would also welcome a commitment to involving those organisations representing children and young people, who have been so much a part of our discussions and debates, as part of the production of that Bill.

I support Amendment 59 from the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, which I signed, requiring NHS England to assess annually how well each ICB is doing in meeting the needs of children and young people; it provides much-needed accountability and transparency, particularly in relation to the new and crucial safeguarding responsibilities that ICBs are taking on. I welcome the statutory guidance, which I know the Government intend to produce, on having a children’s lead on the board of every ICB. That is really important.

I support the suite of amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Farmer. I will leave him to set out the case for them, but I agree that family hubs play a really important role in improving early intervention services, helping integration and data sharing among public services and involving the voluntary sector. Importantly, and germane to this Bill, that includes children’s health services, which are often better delivered in community settings with other family support services. I particularly support Amendment 75, which calls for each local authority to provide a family hub. That is central to a national rollout of family hubs. which I would like to see at the very core of a national strategy on child vulnerability.

Lord Farmer Portrait Lord Farmer (Con)
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I start by thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, for her support; it is very much appreciated. She has been a doughty warrior accompanying us along this path for many years.

I will speak to my Amendments 64, 66, 68 and 75 and I thank the Minister for the meetings I have had with him and the Bill team to hear his concerns, particularly around being overprescriptive.

Amendment 64 simply replaces “may” with “must” and thereby requires integrated care partnership strategies to lay out how health-related services can be more closely integrated with health and social care. In Committee, I said that “may” made that aspect of integration voluntaristic, and I would be grateful if the Minister could explain why, as I am genuinely mystified, the ICP is at present only invited to do that.

Amendment 66 has been revised after the discussions mentioned earlier. I propose adding new subsection (5A) to Clause 116ZB to specifically invite ICPs to consider how family help services, including those accessed through family hubs, could be more closely integrated with arrangements for the provision of health services and social care services in that area. I avoid using “must” in that case, because it could place an overly prescriptive requirement on ICPs. I also avoid mandating the use of family hubs. They are simply mentioned as an important potential access point.

I recognise and applaud the many ways that the Government have improved the Bill with respect to children’s health. However, I explained in Committee that many children’s health needs are psychosocial: they need practical, not just medical, solutions and addressing them needs a whole-family approach. That is also particularly important when parents experience drug and alcohol problems, which can affect their children almost or as much as the parents themselves.

Early family help commissioned by local authorities therefore needs to be integrated with health as well as many other departments of government. Family hubs are mentioned in my amendment, not prescriptively but as the model that could enable that to happen. In Committee, I described how DWP’s Reducing Parental Conflict programme, DLUHC’s Supporting Families and the MOJ’s private family law pilots all looked to family hubs as an access point for those who need this support. The Bill could and should help to make that model proliferate to benefit families. As it operates according to principles, not an overly prescribed framework, it can be tailored to local need, including by drawing in the bespoke work of the local voluntary and community sector. Historically and currently, health services have had a poor track record in integrating with local government and wider partners. The Children’s Centre movement frequently lamented the lack of engagement with health. The opportunity the Bill provides to avoid that pattern being repeated should not be missed.

My Amendment 66 gives meaning to the phrase “family help” and points towards an amended Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 to explain what is meant by “family hubs”. In Committee, I explained that

“services which improve children’s lives through supporting the family unit and strengthening family relationships to enable children to thrive and keep families together”

is the independent care review’s working definition of “family help”. This is not a concept to be set in concrete in the lead reviewer’s final report, but simply one that is qualitatively different from “family support” in local authority usage. The latter leans towards late-stage statutory child protection, which ideally prevents children entering care and is far from the early help so many parents need.

Finally, my Amendment 75 necessarily changes how the Children Act 1989 refers to family help infrastructure to reflect more closely the way it has developed. It has also been adjusted since Committee to avoid mandating local authorities to provide family hubs, which would have significant cost implications, ultimately for the Treasury. As a result of my amendment, new Schedule 2(9) to the Children Act would state:

“Every local authority shall provide such family hubs as they consider appropriate with regard to local needs in relation to children and families within their area.”


“Family hubs” means an access point where children, their parents, relatives and carers can access advice, guidance, counselling or paediatric health services as well as occupational, social, cultural or recreational activities. This removes the anachronistic reference to and description of “family centres”. These were never consistently implemented in the way probably envisaged by the draftsmen of the 1989 Act, although children’s centres did emerge to fulfil many of their purposes in response to research on the importance of children’s early years.

To address the Minister’s concerns that putting family hubs into legislation would introduce unhelpful rigidity and prescription, I end by making an analogy with the Supporting Families programme. This does have a legislative underpinning, but the early troubled families programme from which it evolved provided principles for a tried, tested and consistent way of working, illustrated these with case studies and supported local authorities to develop their own bespoke approaches to that way of working. The DfE is taking a similar non-prescriptive approach in its family hubs framework, which emphasises principles—namely, access, connection and relationships—and avoids determining how local authorities implement these. Just as the Supporting Families programme has developed but is still recognisably the same way of working launched as “troubled families” 10 years ago, I and others anticipate the same continuous improvement trajectory for the family hubs model or way of working.

Family hubs are now official government policy, backed by a £130 million commitment, a major evaluation programme and decades of supportive research. The model is not prescriptive but enabling and supported by many local authorities and those designing health systems. I would be grateful, in conclusion, if the Minister would explain, after these assurances, why this important social infrastructure, the fruit of 30 years of reform, which builds on and extends Labour’s legacy of Sure Start centres, has no place in the Bill.

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Baroness Whitaker Portrait Baroness Whitaker (Lab)
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My Lords, this whole group is worthy of government action, and I support Amendments 80 and 81 in respect of speech and language therapists. The NHS Long Term Plan itself states that speech and language therapists are a profession in short supply. The Department of Health and Social Care, in its submission to the Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the shortage occupation lists, argues that speech and language therapists should be added to them because of the pressures facing these professions, particularly in relation to mental health.

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, for whose advice I am grateful, suggests that a minimum increase in the skilled workforce is required in the region of 15%. In recent years, the profession has grown by 1.7% in a year. The Government themselves recognise that they are clearly not delivering the speech and language therapy workforce that we need. No national assessment has been undertaken of the demand and the unmet need for speech and language therapy, which, I remind noble Lords, is essential for people to be able to communicate. Will the Government accept Amendments 80 and 81 or explain otherwise how they plan to improve workforce planning so that speech and language therapy is no longer a profession in too short supply?

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I will be exceptionally brief and make two very quick points, but first I need to apologise for, when I spoke earlier, omitting to mention my registered interest as a non-executive director of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

I very strongly support Amendment 80, moved so ably by the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege, and pressed so very cogently by the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, and others. It is absolutely fundamental to everything that the Bill is designed to achieve, and we will not achieve those things unless the workforce is addressed.

In relation to Amendment 111 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, I say that it is so important that we have a review into the distribution of GPs in England. I was very concerned when we debated in Committee the huge variation in list numbers in different parts of the country. The biggest lists were in the most deprived areas. If you track that back to the debate we were having on health inequalities, where there was a huge consensus across the House, it is clear that we are never going to fundamentally tackle health inequalities unless we have far greater equality in things like the size of GPs’ lists.

Baroness Harding of Winscombe Portrait Baroness Harding of Winscombe (Con)
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My Lords, I also support my noble friend Lady Cumberlege and Amendment 80. The noble Lord, Lord Stevens, made two points: I would just like to add a third to his argument. He argued that workforce planning needs to happen. There is no large employer of people that does not plan its workforce other than the NHS. We need to do it, and I do not think anyone in this Chamber is going to disagree. He also said that this would not happen without legislation. I will not repeat the points I made at Second Reading or in Committee, or those that he just made so eloquently.

My third point, which I would like to add, is very much addressed to my noble friend the Minister. It is that this amendment will not bring the downsize that the Treasury truly fears. This is actually an amendment of sound management that enables the NHS to manage finances and people better. While there will be more money spent on training, this is actually the way to control the costs of the ever-growing demand for health and social care. If you do not plan, you cannot control the costs. This is actually the way to do the very thing that the Treasury is most concerned about.

Far from locking in old, established ways of working, this is also the way to drive transformation because, unless we are honest about the ever-growing demand for clinicians of every profession, we will not face the fact that we will need to change the way those clinicians work together as medicine and science evolve and all of us age. This is a way to deliver the very thing that the Treasury most wants: control of the finances and transformation of our healthcare services.

With that, I add one final point, and I hope noble Lords will forgive me for repeating what I said in Committee. There is another reason why we need to do this now. Our NHS people are exhausted, and they have lost hope that we understand what it is really like on the ground for them. By passing this amendment, we will give them hope; we will show them that, collectively and cross-party, we really understand that it is they who make our wonderful, precious health and care system work, and we are committed to helping them going forward.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I strongly support the two amendments in this group.

In Committee, I spoke on hospital discharge, focusing particularly on carers who are working. As the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, said, until very recently the impact assessment talked about an expectation that carers would have to provide more care. It said:

“There is an expectation that unpaid carers might need to allocate more time to care for patients who are discharged from hospital earlier. For some, this may result in a … reduction in work hours and associated financial costs.”


While Ministers have talked of carers being able to choose whether or not they give up work to care, we have heard that many have not been given a choice, been consulted or been given the right information to care safely and well. We know that, on occasions, carers do make an informed choice to take on more care, which is great, but we have heard far more stories where the system is working against carers. Indeed, the research from Carers UK shows that two-thirds did not feel listened to about their willingness and ability to care by healthcare professionals.

I am particularly concerned about carers who are trying to juggle working and caring. They may be willing to take on and provide more care, but they are juggling work as well. The impact assessment makes an assumption that, when carers give up work, it will be a short-term thing because the care provided will not be significant. Yet the stories we have heard from carers show that, too often, that is not the case because patients with significant needs are discharged into the community without sufficient support.

To conclude, this is not a minor issue. It affects millions of people, and it particularly affects women. There have been 2.8 million more carers juggling work and care during the pandemic, and many have had to give up work. We also need to remind ourselves that women are more likely to be reducing their working hours to juggle work and care, and they are a group that is already often under-pensioned.

Baroness Walmsley Portrait Baroness Walmsley (LD)
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My Lords, we on these Benches, as has been said, support both amendments in this group. I just ask the Minister one question. We have heard about people who might have to give up work or reduce their hours in order to care. I do not know if the Minister has ever tried to apply for benefits, but it takes a while, and it certainly takes a while for the benefits to turn up in somebody’s bank account. Given that situation, will the Minister talk to the relevant department to see if a fast-track process could be put in place for people in that position?

Health and Care Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Leader of the House

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
Baroness Brinton Portrait Baroness Brinton (LD) [V]
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I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, for tabling these amendments, slightly amended from Committee, and in particular for responding to the Minister’s concerns that the first amendment had perhaps been too broad and would catch the day-to-day business of companies. That cannot be said about Amendment 145.

I also want to pick up a point that the noble Earl made in Committee. He said:

“A company’s working capital, by its nature, is money that is used to fund day-to-day operations in general, and one cannot associate a particular pound with a particular business activity.”—[Official Report, 4/2/22; col. 1161.]


Yet the Charity Commission does have the ability to intervene in the event that a charity, or series of charities stretches—shall we say?—those rules. Its Internal Financial Controls for Charities, CC8, provides very specific guidance. Indeed, in recent years, one charity, the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, was investigated for a circular set of donations. Each donation to each different body was paid tax relief out of the public purse, coming back to serve the schools that the adults at the community church sent their children to. The way that was structured was similar to a financial instrument employed by the few companies that abused the funding they received from the public purse for social care.

The noble Earl also referred to the Treasury guidance Managing Public Money and Accounting Officer Assessments. I have been through that, too. It is very interesting and clear. Under the heading

“expenditure which may rely on a Supply and Appropriation Act”,

Managing Public Money lists

“routine administration costs: employment costs, rent, cleaning etc … lease agreements, eg for photocopiers, lifts”.

It does not say: “Re-charging sister/parent/daughter companies for large amounts of borrowing and the interest thereto”, which is what has been happening.

It is important that we start to debate how public funding is spent by these companies, particularly those overseas, when we cannot see how that money is spent. I also support the other amendments in the group, which ask for a review of financial regulation. It is interesting that the Treasury guidance refers constantly to the Nolan principles, which are absolutely vital in talking about transparency and responsibility when spending public money. These amendments might not be quite right to deliver that, but it would be good if there were a review under way.

The other thing we must have when these companies spend large amounts of public money is publication of their full accounts. They should not be able to hide behind very short, superficial accounts from overseas.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I support these amendments tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, as I did in Committee. In essence, they are about financial practices in the social care sector that I find completely unacceptable.

The social care provider market, as we all know, is complex, fragmented and too often inherently unstable. One of the causes of instability is financially risky behaviour by a small number of large, equity-backed, highly debt-laden companies in the residential care sector. This has resulted in some high-profile sudden exits from the market, such as Southern Cross and Four Seasons. The key point is that, in the event of the closure of a care home, the provider bears no responsibility for continuity of care. That falls on the local authority, with the direct impact felt by care home residents and their families. That just cannot be right.

It is also concerning that, in its 2021 social care market report, the NAO was unable to analyse the accounts of five of the large equity-backed providers because of difficulty in accessing their accounts. Of course, the issue of the lack of transparency over accounts, profits and shareholders is exacerbated when company ownership is offshore.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, explained, Amendment 147 seeks to require local authorities and other public bodies to commission care from non-UK domiciled companies only if they publish full accounts and offer transparency over their ownership. There is an interesting international precedent for the latter part of this. Indeed, in February 2022, the Biden Administration announced a set of measures around improving quality and transparency by requiring private equity firms to disclose ownership stakes in nursing homes.

I will finish by making a couple of broad points. For a measure like this to be implemented effectively, it will clearly be essential that local authorities are equipped with sufficient complex accounting knowledge to scrutinise the ownership and financial practices of a provider. Although this amendment would help ensure transparency and enable better scrutiny of offshore entities, I am conscious that complex ownership structures are not limited to companies owned abroad. I hope the time will come when this sort of financial transparency is extended across all providers, wherever they are based.

Health and Care Bill

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Excerpts
I ask the Minister to please give this resolution godspeed and bring the clause into action as soon as he can. Let us try and move this forward so that—maybe by the time we have gone a year or 15 months from now—we have a real opportunity of making a change which will benefit many parents, and which will not produce adversity but help produce consensus by giving parents a real say in the level of treatment.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I wish to comment extremely briefly on Motion E, in relation to unpaid carers and hospital discharge, and to ask the Minister one question. I want first to pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, for her unstinting leadership on this issue. I very much welcome the amendment in lieu which the Government have brought forward to ensure that carers and patients are properly involved in discharge decisions.

My one point is that the cost of living crisis is a reality and life is getting tougher for many people. Involving carers at the point of discharge gives them the opportunity to say that they are unable to care, or unable to get the support they need for caring because they are juggling work and care—for example, if it is impossible for them to give up work fully because they need to feed the family or pay the bills. Can the Minister give me assurance that carers’ needs to juggle work and care will be both properly covered and explored in the guidance which I know that the Government are committed to producing, and which I am very much looking forward to seeing?

Baroness Walmsley Portrait Baroness Walmsley (LD)
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My Lords, I shall make a few brief comments about Motions A, E, G1, L1 and Q. On Motion A, we very much welcome the Government’s amendments in lieu, to make it clear that no commissioning organisation within the ICS can have a member appointed to it who could reasonably be regarded as undermining the independence of the health service because of their involvement in the private sector. The Government have listened to the concern expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, whom I congratulate for spotting the loophole, and that is very good and welcome.

On the matter of carers and safe discharge in Motion E, we on these Benches were concerned that unpaid carers would not be sufficiently consulted and their own health and well-being might not be sufficiently taken into account. I am grateful to the Minister for spelling out, at my request, how the impact on carers will be assessed before a patient is discharged into her or his care. However, at the moment, when there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in a hospital ward, the carers are not allowed to visit the patient. Therefore, those conversations are not taking place. I should be very interested to know what the Minister will suggest about how those conversations can take place in that situation.

It is very important that appropriate action is taken to address the carer’s needs as well as those of the patient. Indeed, if those needs were not addressed, it would affect the ability of the carer to look after the patient, so both would suffer. I know this is a big responsibility for local authorities, which are strapped for cash, but it is vital that these needs are catered for, especially in light of the fact that those many thousands of unpaid carers save the public purse a massive amount of money, as well as looking after their loved ones with the loving care and attention that it would be very difficult for professionals, however dedicated, to give.

On Motions L and L1, I have listened carefully to the concerns of the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, and she is quite justified. Governments have a habit of promising action but then moving on to something else, so we on these Benches, like the noble Baroness, will be looking out very carefully for the results of the review and the actions which we hope will follow.

We very much welcome Motion Q and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bradley, on achieving what he has. We particularly welcome the mention in the amendment in lieu of the word “prevention” of mental ill-health, as well as diagnosis and treatment.

Finally, as my noble friend Lady Brinton said, we support Motion G1 from the noble Baroness, Lady Wheeler. I want to add just two comments to those of my noble friend. We should support the amendment because the government savings will be paid by the poorest and most vulnerable, and 80% of those with dementia who have very long-term caring needs will be worse off under the Government’s proposals, and that is not right.

--- Later in debate ---
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Portrait Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (CB)
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My Lords, I rise very briefly to support Amendment D1, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra. Last night I was part of a BMA web conference mounted by the Ethics Committee, of which I am an elected member, looking at the powerful evidence coming out of Xinjiang province in China. The concern is that, if we are purchasing products from there, we are complicit in the appalling human rights abuses that we were shown evidence of in this webinar. Therefore, I hope the House will support that amendment.

I return to the very important Amendment B1, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege. This is not just a static situation. It is worsening. All that we have done is not just more of the same; we are actually sliding downhill rapidly. I want to give a little bit of data to the House to support that statement. There are now 1,565 fewer GPs than in 2015, meaning that there is a shortfall of 2,157 against the target that was set by the Government in their manifesto promise, in terms of where we are tracking to date.

The number of fully qualified GPs by headcount has decreased by over 600, so there are now just 0.45 fully qualified GPs per 1,000 patients in England, down from 0.52 in 2015. This means that each GP is responsible for about 300 more patients than previously. In terms of physiotherapy—I declare an interest as president of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy—the model shows that 500 new physios are needed each year for multiple years to meet demand. There needs to be a trebling of the 6,000 NHS physio support workers. In nursing, the district nursing numbers have dropped from 7,055 in 2009 to 3,900 in 2021, which is a 45% drop. This is all going in the wrong direction. From the data that I could obtain, it looks as if three-quarters of nursing vacancies are filled by temporary staff.

This amendment, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege, is crucially important. It would be a dereliction of our duty to ignore supporting that amendment, given all that we know and all the work that has gone on. That is not to be critical of the Minister and his team at all, because I am sure that it is not his personal wish that we do not have this in place—but we certainly do need a completely new approach to workforce planning.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield Portrait Baroness Tyler of Enfield (LD)
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My Lords, I wish to lend my support very briefly to Motion B1, moved so very compellingly by the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege. I simply wish to pick up and echo the telling point from the noble Baroness, Lady Harding, who I think broadly said that if you carry on doing the same thing, you are going to get the same results.

I have had a look over the last week at what results we are getting. We have had the frankly shocking revelations in the Ockenden review, highlighting the really severe implications for patient safety, particularly for women and babies, when there are just not enough suitably trained staff around to do the vital job that they are there to do. I looked at that review last night and found it truly shocking. In the last 24 hours, we have had a Care Quality Commission report looking at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. It said that they lacked enough qualified clinical staff to keep women and infants safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right treatment. There is also today’s report—it may have been yesterday’s—from the Health and Social Care Select Committee, highlighting the critical NHS staff shortages affecting cancer services in England, meaning that too many people are missing out on that critical early cancer diagnosis which is so vital to their chances of survival.

I know those are the worst things happening and that there are lots of good things, but those things are not acceptable. Things like that are why public satisfaction in the NHS, as the noble Lord, Lord Stevens, said, is sadly going down. That is a real problem; it is the reason I so strongly support Motion B1 and why there is such strong cross-party support for it in this Chamber.

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait Baroness Watkins of Tavistock (CB)
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My Lords, I support Motion B1 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege. I will be brief and not repeat what others have said. However, it is worth noting that in the Statement on the Ockenden report, the Secretary of State for Health said:

“I am also taking forward the specific recommendations that Donna Ockenden has asked me to. The first is on the need to further expand the maternity workforce.”—[Official Report, Commons, 30/3/22; col. 819.]


That phrase could be repeated for every part of the NHS and social care workforce, so I believe that has changed the situation since the other House debated this issue.

The public are asking what the national insurance levy is for if not to increase the number of professional staff in training. We are turning away people who want to be paramedics and nurses, as my noble friend has just said, who want to train locally. Of course we should undertake ethical overseas recruitment as well, but we need both. I firmly believe that this amendment needs the full support of this House.