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Amendments Consequential On Changes In The Local Administration Of The Health Service

Volume 990: debated on Thursday 7 August 1980

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Lords amendment: No. 2, in page 41, line 5, after 'paragraph 5,' insert

'in sub-paragraph (1)(a) after the words "metropolitan district" there shall be inserted the words "a non-metropolitan district," '

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

The purpose of the amendment to schedule 5 to the National Health Service Act is to include non-metropolitan district councils among the specified local authorities that may appoint several of the members of health authorities.

I agree with the purpose of the amendment. It was moved by the Labour Party in another place, with Conservative Back-Bench support. At present, there are administrative methods of including non-metropolitan district representatives on district health authorities, although they were omitted from the provisions of the 1977 Act.

"Patients First" suggested the reduction of local authority representation on district health authorities, with which we disagreed, and it implied that district council representatives could be included only if county councils cut back. In those circumstances non-metropolitan districts, because they were not specifically mentioned in schedule 5 to the 1977 Act, wanted specified legal guarantees. That is why this amendment was put forward. It gives them a bare minimum of representation. We accept that it is a minor improvement to the Bill. It is remarkable that the Government are so sensitive after causing such a massacre of local authority representatives on local health authorities. It reminds me of a famous French executioner who used to make sure that his victim's head was carefully and comfortably placed in the guillotine before bringing down the chopper. Nevertheless, we shall not oppose the amendment.

Question put and agreed to.