Bill may be sent back to House of Commons, says Lansley

By Susie Sell, 24 May 2011

The Health Bill could be sent back to the House of Commons for further scrutiny following the listening exercise, the health secretary has admitted.

Mr Lansley: a decision about whether the Health Bill needed to be ‘recommitted’ would be made after the NHS Future Forum report in June

Mr Lansley: a decision about whether the Health Bill needed to be ‘recommitted’ would be made after the NHS Future Forum report in June

In an online Guardian webchat, Andrew Lansley said the Health Bill may be ‘recommitted’ to the House of Commons, which could delay the Bill’s passage through Parliament.

It comes as Labour health minister Baroness Glenys Thornton said that the Health Bill is unlikely to reach the House of Lords before September.

Mr Lansley said a decision about whether the Bill needed to be ‘recommitted’ would be made after the NHS Future Forum report, which is expected by June. ‘I told the House of Commons on 4 April that we would ensure proper scrutiny of the bill – we have done that so far and we will continue to do so,' he said.

Mr Lansley also responded to criticism of role of NHS regulator Monitor in promoting competition. He said the duty of Monitor should be to ‘promote the best interests of patients’.

‘We have always said competition is a means to an end not an end in itself. Monitor's job is to promote the best interests of patients,' he said.

‘This is clearly an area where we are looking to listen and make improvements to make this absolutely clear.’

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