Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Third Report


Draft legislation for Wales

      • We warmly welcome the publication of this first ever draft Bill for Wales, and hope that it will in due course become the standard practice, not only for stand-alone "Wales-only" Bills, but also for clauses in England and Wales Bills which have particular implications for Wales (paragraph 6).
    1. Publication of regulations in draft

      • We welcome the commitment by the NAW to provide for public consultation on the regulations to be made under the Bill prior to its eventual enactment (paragraph 13).
    2. Long and short titles

      • We recommend reconsideration of the long and short titles of the draft Bill (paragraph 14).
    3. Diversity

      • Such diversity offers ideal opportunities for discovering what works best where and why. There may in due course be a case for some mechanism to ensure that the full potential benefits are realised of the diversity of provision among the nations of the UK (paragraph 16).
    4. CHCs: general

      • Our examination of the proposals on CHCs in the draft Bill have been based on a desire to ensure that no opportunity is missed for ensuring that the new-look CHCs in Wales fulfil their potential (paragraph 22).
    5. CHCs: appointment of members

      • We see no reason to constrain the freedom to be given to the NAW to lay down the principles underlying the appointment of CHC members (paragraph 23).
    6. CHCs: time off for members

      • We recommend that the Bill be amended to give CHC members the statutory right to time off work for public duties (paragraph 24).
    7. CHCs: co-terminosity

      • We recommend adding a third rider to the existing conditions in new Clause 20A, obliging the NAW to have due regard to the boundaries of Local Health Boards and other agencies subject to CHC scrutiny when deciding the districts of CHCs (paragraph 28).
    8. CHCs: NAW power to extend remit

      • We recommend that the new Schedule 7A be amended so as to give the NAW power to extend by regulations the scope of CHC powers to inspect premises used to provide publicly-funded health care for the public in their district (paragraph 32).
    9. CHCs: explanation of inspection powers

      • In publishing the Explanatory Notes with the eventual Bill, we recommend a translation into plain English of the terms of paragraph (3) of Schedule 7A, and in particular of the arcane language in sub-paragraphs (g) and (h) (paragraph 33).
    10. CHCs: rights to information

      • We are entitled to expect publication in the Bill of provisions on the obligations of providers of health services to supply information to CHCs, which should reflect the full range of CHC visit rights, and should include English providers (paragraph 36).
    11. CHCs: advocacy services

      • We recommend examination of the terms of paragraph 2 (g) of Schedule 7A, to ensure that it allows for the NAW to provide for CHCs to commission other bodies to carry out independent advocacy services (paragraph 40).
    12. CHCs: cross-border functions

      • We recommend that the terms of the new Schedule 7A be reviewed so as to ensure that Welsh CHCs will not be constrained in the exercise of their functions as a result of Welsh patients receiving treatment outside Wales, and that there will be full reciprocal rights for the equivalent English bodies (paragraph 41).
    13. CHCs: reporting

      • We recommend a review of the terms of Schedule 7A to establish whether it provides sufficient authority for the NAW to provide for a system of reporting by CHCs to the AWCHC, and the AWCHC to the NAW (paragraph 45).
    14. CHCs: additional functions for AWCHC

      • We recommend that the power which it is proposed to give to NAW to allocate any functions to AWCHC be constrained by providing that they should be related to its core statutory functions of advice, assistance and support to CHCs (paragraph 46).
    15. CHCs: staff

      • No doubt the NAW will bear in mind the importance of reflecting the emphasis placed on the independence of CHCs in any arrangements made for the employment of their staff (paragraph 47).
    16. WCH: independence

      • We recommend a review of the terms in the draft Bill under which the WCH is obliged to comply with any direction of the NAW, with a view to limiting that obligation to the exercise of its administrative or financial functions. We recommend that the terms of paragraph 16(2) of Schedule 2 be revisited with a view to using the sub-paragraph to enshrine the operational independence of the WCH. We recommend further consideration as to how best to provide within this founding statute for the real independence of the WCH (paragraphs 55 to 57).
    17. WCH: basic function

      • On balance we are satisfied that the basic statutory function of dealing with the protection and improvement of health in Wales is broad enough to allow for the NAW and the Centre itself to develop its work as appropriate; and we are confident that the desire to see the Centre as a genuinely accessible public resource for the people of Wales is well understood within the NAW (paragraph 59).
    18. WCH: public health medical data

      • The grave difficulties confronting public health data collection will offer an early challenge to the new Wales Centre for Health. Urgent and concerted action by Government, in consultation with all the stakeholders involved, is required to ensure that a proper level of collection of public health medical data can be resumed (paragraph 60).
    19. HPW: additional functions

      • We consider that the phrase "in particular" should be removed from subsection (1) of Clause 4, and a third phrase added at the end of that subsection to allow for HPW to exercise functions in relation to "similar matters". We are uneasy about allowing functions to be conferred on HPW by direction, as a means of avoiding the requirement for consultation and democratic process. We recommend the removal of subsection (2) (c) of Clause 4, under which a function can be conferred on HPW by direction. We also recommend that the Explanatory Notes to be published with the Bill include a full list of those professions whose activities the NAW has already determined will be covered by HPW (paragraphs 71 to 72).
    20. HPW: NAW powers of direction

      • We recommend that the NAW's power of direction to HPW in exercising a function, as set out in subsection (4) of Clause 4, should explicitly require prior consultation where it concerned functions carried out by HPW on behalf of the HPC or NMC (paragraph 73).
    21. HPW and WCH: Welsh Language Act

      • We would welcome written confirmation that it is necessary to have a specific reference to WCH in section 6 of the Welsh Language Act, but not to HPW (paragraph 74).


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