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Mr. Speaker: As I have said before, I have only the powers that the House has given to me, and I have no power to do what the right hon. Gentleman suggests.

Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The remarks about Andy Wood may have been made off the cuff by the hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mike Gapes). As you have rightly said, hon. Members have to use their own discretion on whether to use the power make an attack—whether slanderous, accurate or inaccurate—on someone outside the House. Could you remind the House that that power is occasionally valuable, but when it seems to be used as part of the weaponry of the reputation assassins, trying to support a Minister in trouble, it makes the House look rather mean and silly?

Mr. Speaker: I have nothing to add to the points that have been made.

26 Feb 2002 : Column 579

Health Reform (Education and Public Involvement)

4.35 pm

Mr. Jim Cunningham (Coventry, South): I beg to move,

My Bill is based on the Kennedy report. Most people were shocked by what happened at Bristol. It is not necessary for me to remind the House of the grim statistics—we remember them all too well. It is my intention not to reopen that issue today, but to learn from it, particularly from the Kennedy report, which makes it clear that the treatment given to the children was substandard and that parents were dealt with shoddily—hardly the health service that we wish to see. The Bristol royal infirmary and the Government have done a lot to put right the hospital's mistakes, but this is not about the Bristol tragedy; it is about the holes in the NHS through which patients can fall—holes that still exist despite recent changes.

On 18 June 1998, the inquiry was set up by the then Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson). Kennedy produced close to 200 recommendations; my Bill seeks to address only two issues. I am aware that the Government have done much, and have plans to do much more. My intention is to assist the Government. They have already introduced a Bill to establish the Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals. My Bill would clarify one of the new council's responsibilities and strengthen patient representation—a principle already embraced by the Government. Kennedy says that staff

On patient representation, it would be obligatory for each NHS trust to appoint two people, as non-executive directors, to oversee patient involvement, to ensure that patients are involved in decisions that relate to their care and that the complaint and decision-making processes are transparent to patients. According to Kennedy, the relationship between the patient and the professional should be

Users and providers should meet as equals.

Of course, the professionals who currently sit on the boards can be patients, too, but their job is not to represent patients, and I want people on the boards who only represent patients. Having two representatives would allow trusts to ensure geographical representation, and allow for the division of responsibility.

The Kennedy report states that patients are entitled to

The report also says that:

Therefore, my Bill would also make provision for continuous training.

26 Feb 2002 : Column 580

When the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill completes its stages, the Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals will come into being. It will have the power to regulate and set uniform, continuous training and assessment requirements for health care professionals. My Bill would make it obligatory for the council, with the Secretary of State, to use those powers and ensure that health care professionals receive regular training to update their skills and working methods. However, there is a disciplinary system in place to cover professionals who refuse training or fall below certain minimum standards of knowledge and practice. Any disciplinary action should be undertaken within reasonable time. I am sure that most hon. Members have heard me mention previously some of the issues affecting the health service in Coventry, where several consultants have been suspended for considerable periods—at least two for a two-year period—at considerable cost to the national health service. Another consultant was suspended as recently as Friday. I do not know too much about the details of the case, but I am struck by the fact that every time a consultant is suspended in Coventry, it seems to be for bullying. That reminds me of my days in industry, when the catch-all offence was gross misconduct. It seems that the charge of bullying is being used in the same sort of way.

As I said, I do not know the details of the case, but I shall not let the matter rest. I intend to seek Adjournment debates to pursue the issue. Some of the managers in the local health service, and even at regional level, have said that they are not going to let half a dozen Members of Parliament push them around. It is not about Members of Parliament pushing management around; it is about ensuring the best possible management for Walsgrave Hospitals NHS trust and Walsgrave hospital. That is the real issue.

The national health service should be a good employer and allow staff to refresh their skills and learn new ones. The Government have spent a lot of time and money encouraging employers to invest in their staff and make lifelong learning opportunities available to them. Surely it would be wrong to exclude such opportunities from the NHS. After all, they are available in the education system. In addition, the NHS would benefit from sharing examples of best practice.

For all those reasons, I want the new council to address the issue and ensure continuous training for all health care professionals. It would be easy to adopt the route of the Opposition and lambast the health service for its inadequacies and mistakes. That is not my style. I am introducing this Bill because it provides a productive approach and real solutions. It will go some way towards giving our constituents an effective service, and a health service to be trusted.

I very much hope that hon. Members will support my Bill and the Kennedy recommendations included in it. Let us start a new chapter in the improvement of the national health service.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Jim Cunningham, Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas, Mr. Brian Jenkins, Mr. Stephen McCabe, Mr. Mike O'Brien, Mr. Bill Olner, Mr. Geoffrey Robinson, Ms Debra Shipley, Rachel Squire, David Taylor and Mr. James Wray.

26 Feb 2002 : Column 581

Health Reform (Education and Public Involvement)

Mr. Jim Cunningham accordingly presented a Bill to provide for the training of health professionals and for the involvement of patients and the general public in the decision-making processes of the National Health Service; and to provide mechanisms for the regulation of training and public involvement: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 21 June, and to be printed [Bill 99].

26 Feb 2002 : Column 582

Proceeds of Crime Bill (Programme)(No. 2)

4.43 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): I beg to move,


ProceedingsTime for conclusion of proceedings
First allotted day
New Clauses relating to Part 1, amendments relating to Clause 1, Schedule 1 and Clauses 2 to 5; new Clauses relating to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4; amendments relating to Clauses 6 to 141, Schedule 2 and Clauses 142 to 248Three and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order
New Clauses relating to Part 5; amendments relating to Clauses 249 to 256, Schedule 3, Clauses 257 to 272, Schedule 4 and Clauses 273 to 316; new Clauses relating to Part 6; amendments relating to Clauses 317 to 325, Schedule 5 and Clause 326Six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order
Second allotted day
New Clauses relating to Part 7; amendments relating to Clauses 327 to 330, Schedule 6 and Clauses 331 to 335Two and a quarter hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill
New Clauses relating to Part 8; amendments relating to Clauses 336 to 407; new Clauses relating to Part 9; amendments relating to Clauses 408 to 425; new Clauses relating to Part 10; amendments relating to Clauses 426 to 433; new Clauses relating to Part 11; amendments relating to Clauses 434 to 439, Schedule 7, Clauses 440 to 444, Schedule 8, Clause 445, Schedule 9 and Clauses 446 to 450; remaining new Clauses; new Schedules and remaining proceedings on considerationFour and a quarter hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill

    (2) The proceedings on Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion six hours after the commencement of the proceedings on the Bill on the second allotted day.—[Mr. Bob Ainsworth.]

I should like to state my appreciation for the approach taken by both the main Opposition parties. Her Majesty's official Opposition stated their opposition to programme motions in principle. None the less, they sought to make absolutely sure, as they did in Committee, that the motion was structured to ensure that the appropriate amount of time was available to discuss all the different parts of the Bill. I commend the motion to the House.

26 Feb 2002 : Column 583

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