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Point of Order

Volume 628: debated on Tuesday 5 September 2017

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your assistance regarding regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013. The regulation provides for local authorities with concerns about decisions by clinical commissioning groups to refer those decisions to the Secretary of State for Health for consideration.

On 26 January and 11 January this year, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council made a referral of decision by Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs to close community care beds across community hospitals in our area. On 11 April 2017, a letter from my hon. Friends the Members for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly) and for Stoke-on-Trent North (Ruth Smeeth), the former Member for Stoke-on-Trent South, Baroness Golding and me was sent to the Secretary of State asking for an update on the matter, with a subsequent letter from me sent to him on 28 July. To date no one has received a response. The local authorities that made the referral almost eight and a half months ago have yet to receive any acknowledgement from the Secretary of State that the matter is under consideration. While the matter is not being dealt with by the Secretary of State, the decisions by the CCGs stand and community care beds are closing.

I seek your assistance, Madam Deputy Speaker, on how I can compel the Secretary of State for Health to consider the referral that he has received from those two authorities and how future referrals from local authorities can be dealt with in a timely fashion under the regulations provided by the House that give power to the Secretary of State.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice that he wished to raise this matter. I appreciate that it is an important matter of great concern to him and his constituents, but it is not a point of order. It is not for me to interpret the legal responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Health. However, the hon. Gentleman has succeeded in getting his concerns on the record. No doubt they have been heard by Ministers in the Chamber and will, I am sure, be relayed to the Department. If the hon. Gentleman does not receive a satisfactory response, I encourage him to seek the advice of the Table Office on the various avenues that he might use to pursue the matter.