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Health and Social Care (National Data Guardian) Bill

Volume 629: debated on Friday 20 October 2017

Second Reading

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Before going into the detail of the Bill, I should like to say that I very much appreciate the cross-party support that exists for the principle behind it. In fact, I have Conservative, Labour, Scottish National party and Democratic Unionist party support. Geographically, I have sponsors from all the nations of our United Kingdom, so there are MPs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who support the Bill. I am particularly grateful to the Minister of State for Health for coming to listen to the debate, and I appreciate the Department’s help with the progress that we have made so far.

The Bill is designed to improve the handling of health and social care data. My sponsors are my hon. Friends the Members for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse), for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy), for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), for Mid Norfolk (George Freeman), for Lewes (Maria Caulfield) for Colchester (Will Quince) and for Shipley (Philip Davies), and the hon. Members for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds), for Central Ayrshire (Dr Whitford) and for Strangford (Jim Shannon). My hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) would have been a sponsor, if numbers had permitted.

It would be wrong of me to move on without thanking my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds, who is determined that the health and social care national data guardian should be put on a statutory footing and who has ensured that the Bill has reached this stage. I thank her for her advice, encouragement and knowledge in helping to prepare the Bill. I also want to thank her for, on occasion, nagging me to get on with the administrative detail that lies behind every private Member’s Bill. Let me warn anyone who thinks of opposing this Bill that my hon. Friend is formidable and will not hesitate to take them to task.

I thank Nicola Perrin, head of understanding patient data at the Wellcome Trust. Her detailed advice and extensive knowledge have been a great help in preparation for today. I thank parliamentary counsel for drafting the Bill and for being very patient with me with the revision of one clause in particular.

In all fairness, we have looked at even the tiniest of concerns regarding this Bill, and I think we have satisfied everyone who has expressed an opinion. This is a Second Reading debate about the principle of having a national data guardian for health and social care. I do not claim that the Bill is perfect—it could perhaps be improved—so I urge any right hon. and hon. Members who want to improve it or have concerns about it to join me in Committee, if the Bill makes progress, so that it can be amended and improved.

Let me, Madam Deputy Speaker, give you a very brief outline of the Bill.

The Deputy Speaker interrupted the business (Standing Order No. 11(2)).

Bill to be read a Second time on Friday 1 December.