Skip to main content

Health and Care Bill goes to House of Lords for scrutiny

BASW England wrote to Lords ahead of Tuesday’s Second Reading with a briefing about the key issues within the Bill

The Health and Care Bill recently passed the legislative stages in the House of Commons and has now gone to the House of Lords to get further scrutiny. 

The Bill had its Second Reading in the Lords on Tuesday 7 December, during which Members of the Lords raised concerns on behalf of BASW England, such as Baroness Bennett’s contribution highlighting the worry about the dilution of local authority responsibilities in the Bill.

BASW England has a unique insight, through our members, where we can ensure the voice and perspective of social work is represented and heard on issues like integration of services in health and social care. There are many settings where social workers are already working closely with health agencies - including mental health trusts, hospital discharge teams as well as GP practices. 

Social workers have frontline experience of partnership working and can provide insight into the challenges faced with integration of services, as well as how we think it can best work.

BASW England wrote to Lords ahead of Tuesday’s Second Reading with a briefing about the key issues within the Bill, such as:

  • Discharge to assess
  • Cap on care costs
  • Parity of esteem 
  • Membership of Integrated Care Boards
  • Role of the Care Quality Commission 

Baroness Pitkeathley raised the issue of discharge to assess and the impact that it will have on carers and their rights, which had been hard fought for during the passage of the Care Act 2014. In her speech, Baroness Pitkeathley said:

This Bill repeals the legislation that gave carers a fundamental right to an assessment and ensured that services were provided to make sure that hospital discharges are safe. There are endless horror stories about unplanned discharges with which I could regale your Lordships if time permitted. Some 68% of carers say that they were not asked whether they were willing and able to care at the point of discharge. Some 61% report that they were not given the right information and advice to help them care safely and well. Surely we must, at the very least, maintain carers’ rights, not reduce them—so this must be amended.”

The Bill will have its Committee Stages in the Lords in January, at which point Peers can make amendments to the Bill. If amendments are made, the Bill will have to go back to the House of Commons for them to agree the changes.

BASW England will continue to keep members updated on the Bill as it moves through Parliament.