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Lord Warner: I listened with interest to the noble Lord's comments on rehabilitation. Certainly, there is no intention on the part of the Government to do other than to give people access to rehabilitation when they need it and to help them get back to work and health as quickly as possible. I want to put on record one simple sentence just to make matters clear. We do not think it right to allow the compensator to be able to avoid liability for the NHS charges incurred by virtue of agreeing to pay for an injured person's rehabilitation. That is a central point of the Bill.

In the middle of the voting arrangements on the amendment on which there was a vote, I offered to meet the noble Lord and officials and to go through all his amendments, including this one, in as constructive a way as possible, and then to confirm to him after a thorough and detailed discussion before Report where we can and cannot meet his particular

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concerns. That offer is extended to all his amendments. I hope that that will help the noble Lord and the Committee to make progress today. In that spirit, I shall not go through the detail—particularly as he did not press me—on his particular amendment. But we are happy to have a full discussion outside the Committee.

Baroness Blatch: The noble Lord has made what sounds like a very generous offer. But the Official Report of the debates in this House are not for an "in club"—that is, the Members of this place; they are informative documents for doctors, nurses, all those involved in the health service and other interested bodies, including those who have taken a very serious interest in the Bill. It seems to me that the Government's response to amendments should be part of the Official Report and not simply a system of bypassing the need to debate these amendments in the Chamber. That is why amendments are tabled. There are people who are very interested in the Government's responses. I do not think that it should be left as a way of curtailing discussions today.

Lord Warner: I was trying to make the offer in a way that was helpful to the noble Lord and to Members of the Committee. If the noble Baroness and other Members would like me to go through the seven or eight pages of response, I am happy to. It will of course slow down other noble Lords who wish to discuss other amendments. I was trying to proceed in a way which meets the Committee's needs.

There will be every opportunity—the noble Baronesses are shaking their heads. If they could just listen to what I have to say. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, would not mind this: we would send a copy of the outcome of those discussions to all Members of the Committee. Please may I be allowed to continue? I listened patiently to the noble Baroness when she was speaking. She might do me the same courtesy.

I would actually send that letter to all Members of the Committee who have participated in the discussion. If the noble Lord and other Members were not content with that outcome, there would be nothing to stop them raising matters on Report on particular amendments so that we could discuss them further. However, if it is the wish of the Committee that I work my way through the seven pages, I am happy to do so.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: I am in a slightly difficult position, because I very much agree with my noble friend, but perhaps there is a way through. The Minister has made me a generous offer, which I accept quickly, before he withdraws it. However, perhaps I may do so in this context. Much of what I said about rehabilitation extends right across many provisions in the Bill: seeking to improve facilities in the National Health Service. There will therefore be many noble Lords who will want to participate in further debate on the matter.

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Perhaps the easiest way through is for me to proceed as the Minister suggested and return to a fuller debate on Report. That may meet my noble friend's point that so many interests are directly affected here. I remind the Minister that it does not affect only the Department of Health: key discussions are underway in the Department for Work and Pensions and the other departments I mentioned on the issue of rehabilitation.

This is not a party political issue. To give an example—perhaps the best one of all—everyone wants someone who has suffered a whiplash injury either at work or in a motor car not just to be sent home to await a GP's appointment and then, possibly, later physiotherapy; but to receive immediate treatment of the highest possible quality at the NHS hospital, so that he can get back to work and be on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.

That example involves a simple, minor accident. So much more important is it that someone who has suffered a serious spinal injury should not have to stay in a hospital bed receiving only one area of specialised treatment but should have a case manager allocated to him, who would make it his business to ensure that that seriously injured individual received the range of specialist advice and treatment that he needed, all combined at an early stage to produce a far better environment in which to return to normal health as quickly as possible.

I hope that in that way I have met the point made by my noble friend and at the same time retained the offer, which I accept, from the Minister. Perhaps we can return to the subject on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 10 agreed to.

1.30 a.m.

Lord Clement-Jones moved Amendment No. 418:

    Before Clause 147, insert the following new clause—

Where compensation has been paid through an insurance policy, subject to paragraph 4 of Schedule 10, the insurer will not be liable for payment of NHS costs providing that he has provided the Compensation Recovery Unit with the name and address of the insured."

The noble Lord said: The amendment would meet what might loosely be called the "culprit pays" principle, although if the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, were setting the exams, it would probably be the "tortfeasor pays" principle, which seems to be the Government's implicit driving principle of this part of the Bill allowing for recovery of NHS charges. If the amendment were adopted, the party responsible for causing the harm would have to meet the full economic costs of their failings, rather than them being borne by the many policy-holders and so adding to the inflation of premiums, as under the current proposal.

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The Minister's reply set out in his letter was very interesting. However, it is inaccurate to say that the proposal implies that people should be expected to pay potentially thousands of pounds on top of their insurance premiums as a result of an incident for which they considered themselves appropriately insured. It is designed to meet the situation where the insured has received a pay-out from an insurer. I beg to move.

Lord Warner: Clause 146(2) is very specific:

    "The person making the compensation payment is liable to pay the relevant NHS charges".

There is no provision in the Bill to transfer that liability to the person on whose behalf the compensation payment is made. But if costs cannot be recovered from the insurer who makes the compensation payment, they cannot be recovered from anyone. The amendment would be at odds with the Government's policy in that regard.

Our intention is made explicit in Clause 160, which specifies that where a qualifying compensation payment is made and an insurance policy covers a person's liability in respect of the injury, the policy must be treated as also covering any liability to pay NHS costs. The amendment is not appropriate, given the structure of the Bill. I hope that the noble Lord will reconsider his position.

Lord Clement-Jones: The Minister's answer seems eminently and quite consistently circular, but I am not surprised by it. I will not get any further on this wheel; otherwise, at this time of night, I will feel like a hamster. Nevertheless, I shall consider the Minister's reply and respond appropriately at a further stage in the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 147 [Applications for certificates of NHS charges]:

Lord Skelmersdale moved Amendment No. 419:

    Page 66, line 17, leave out "may" and insert "must"

The noble Lord said: There has been a lot of chat on the subject of a letter, especially since my noble friend Lord Hunt became involved in our discussion. It would have helped me and, I am sure, other Members of the Committee, to have received such a letter. After all, my name was attached to many of the amendments. I find it strange that I was not sent such a letter.

Lord Warner: The points that I made to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, were inserted in the letter that I believe I sent to Front-Bench spokesmen and others

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who have spoken in these debates. If the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, did not receive the letter, I can only apologise.

Baroness Noakes: It might help the noble Lord to know that I did not receive a letter either. I do not know what distribution system his office thinks he operates, but he did not achieve his intended effect.

Lord Warner: We tried to put the letters in Members' pigeonholes. Unless something went seriously wrong, we failed.

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