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Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: I strongly support the spirit of the amendment. Healthcare is not just about trying to prevent disease occurring, diagnosing it early and then treating it. The treatment is often devastating for the patient. Rehabilitation is absolutely essential if they are to resume their lives after treatment. Only this week we have had statistics about the number of patients in chronic unmanaged pain. An amputation might signal the end of treatment for a gangrenous leg, but the path to rehabilitation and eventual independent living is long and tortuous. It requires resources and such patients require support. With good support and good rehabilitation processes outcomes are dramatically different. With such support many of these patients will return to work and feel that they have resumed the role in society from which they were plucked by their illness. Without a continuum of rehabilitation services and the ongoing provision of quality care, many patients will become chronically disabled and depressed and will be unable to contribute to society as a result of their illness. I beg the Minister to include the provision as a quality measure. The bulk of healthcare falls within the list specified in the amendment.
Earl Russell: I am very glad that the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, said what she did about pain. It is a constant drag on a great many people. Apart from the sheer unpleasantness it is also a constant interference with their ability to work. The incapacity benefit test, as it stands at present, because it measures a person's medical condition in a snapshot taken at one moment simply does not take adequate account of thingsit never has done. If the noble Baroness were able to assist in promoting a dialogue between the medical authorities and the Department for Work and Pensions she might make a contribution which would be very valuable to a great many people.
I agree also with what my noble friend Lady Barker said about involving users, by which I take it she meant not only patients but also those who at a more junior level are engaged in applying treatment. She brought back to me a memory of a train journey across Yugoslavia in 1961 in the days when Yugoslavia was still able to pretend to be a country. I was sitting next to a surgeon from Zagreb who was describing the operation of a works council that, because it involved nurses as fully-fledged members, had succeeded in convincing the authorities that it was not sensible to polish the floors until they were so shiny that every nurse fell over when going about her duties. That is a lesson that needs relearning from time to time.
No one would disagree with many comments made by Members of the Committee about the importance of independent living and rehabilitation being properly linked as part of the patient pathway from ill health to recovery. However, I on the whole suggest that it is not the business of the National Health Service to provide services to support independent living and rehabilitation. That has been seen increasingly as the job of local authority social services, which under the Bill are subject to inspection and monitoring by CSCI. Where such services are provided by the NHS, they would in any event be within the existing definition of healthcare as services provided in connection with the treatment of illness.
I respectfully suggest that there is not a great deal of merit in the proposed change, which would simply confuse the position further on what is social care and what is healthcare. Many Members of the Committee know only too well that those issues have been difficult to define for many people at an operational level. Over the past two decades or so, we have moved a long way down the track of seeing the services as best provided within the world of social care. Many professionals would see the amendment as a slightly retrograde stepas something that goes back on some changes brought about in the past two decades. I am happy to place myself in this camp, based on my experience as a director of social services.
With respect to the duty of equality, Amendment No. 255 seeks to ensure that NHS bodies consult persons such as patient representatives, clinical experts and CHAI to ensure the effective discharge of their obligations to monitor and improve the quality of healthcare that they provide or obtain. Given our increasing emphasis on patient and public involvement, I sympathise with the amendment, but the local clinical governance and other arrangements already in place remain sufficient.
When implemented effectively, clinical governance ensures high-quality patient-focused care. That is why it is and will remain for NHS bodies, as part of their accountability arrangements, to provide evidence that they have appropriate mechanisms in place. Their clinical governance arrangements are, of course, looked at as part of performance monitoring. A key part of the work of CHAI will be to continue to investigate the performance of individual bodies. To ensure that each and every NHS body meets the needs of the population that they serve, each already consults with additional persons such as patient groups as a matter of course.
Baroness Byford: My contribution will be very small. I am somewhat concerned, having heard the noble Lord's response. I am not quite sure whether he is saying that this is not the right place in the Billthat is one matteror that the problem is covered by something else, which is a totally different matter. Rehabilitation is hugely important. As someone who has had two heart attacks, the rehabilitation that I received from one hospital was of very different quality from that of the other.
I shall raise a smaller problem. When I was involved in the WRVSit was a long time agoone of the big problems was with those released from hospital and into the responsibility of social services. It was a huge difficulty, and I do not think that it has been solved properly even now, 20 years later.
I add my questioning voice. It is not a Front-Bench voice but my personal interpretation. I came in rather late. Have I misinterpreted a suggestion that the provision would be in the wrong place? However, if it is a good idea and in the right place, I hope that the Minister will dwell on it a little further and that the noble Baroness will take him up on the issue, as it is enormously important.
On another personal account, my brother lost two fingers in an accident. Although his treatment at the hospital was good, it has taken some time to get to gripsthat is a bad expression, but it is very trueand cope in a way that he had perhaps never thought of before. I am sure that there must be lots of similar cases. My experience of the two Leicester-based hospitals was that one was very much more highly geared to give specific after-care that was enormously beneficial, and meant that I returned to work very quickly compared with the first time round when it was not the same standard.
Lord Warner: I was not saying that the provision was in the wrong part of the Bill, but that the overwhelming majority of rehabilitation and moving towards independent living was seen as part of the world of social care rather than healthcare. That is not to say that none of it is important in relation to healthcare. Where it is part of healthcare, those issues can be inspected by CHI already. The lead area of relevant inspection should remain with CSCI, which is what we have tried to maintain in the Bill. We are not in any way diminishing the importance of the service areas to which the noble Baroness draws attention.
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: Will the Minister clarify something for me on rehabilitation, as I am feeling a little confused? Highly specialised physiotherapy and occupational therapy, limb-fitting services and other very technical services are currently called rehabilitation services. All the people working in those services would seek reassurance that they were not
Lord Warner: All of us who have worked in health and social care want the individual patient experience to be seamless as they move from one to the other, as many people do. It is inevitable that, at some point, the NHS ceases to take responsibility and that the social care agency takes it. The precise time when that happens varies slightly from one part of the country to another, and is slightly different for different individuals.
The amendment and this part of the Bill are not about the merits or demerits of rehabilitation or independent living, but about the inspection and review arrangements for those services. There are two inspectorates, CHAI and CSCI. All that we sayit is a much narrower point than some of the debateis that primary responsibility on inspection in this area is likely to be with CSCI, because the great bulk of the work on rehabilitation and independent living takes place in social care. We are not saying that there is no rehabilitation and no independent-living work in the health services. The primary inspection responsibility should not be confused, because it is likely to rest in CSCI. All that we are arguing is that the amendment could confuse the responsibilities of the inspectorates.
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