HC Deb 27 July 1977 vol 936 cc843-4

Order for Second Reading read.

1.44 a.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Law Officers' Department (Mr. Arthur Davidson)

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

I move the Second Reading extremely briefly. This is a purely consolidation Bill. It consolidates certain provisions relating the National Health Service—namely, the National Health Service Acts 1946 to 1976, the Public Health Laboratory Act 1936—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will the Minister wait for a minute? I ask hon. Members to leave the Chamber as quietly and quickly as possible if they are going? Mr. Davidson.

Mr. Davidson

I was hoping, Mr. Speaker, to grab an unusually large audience for a consolidation Bill, which is why I ploughed on.

The Bill consolidates many National Health Service Acts. I have mentioned the 1946 to 1976 Acts. It also consolidates the Public Health Laboratory Services Act 1960, the Emergency Laws (Re-enactments and Repeals) Act 1964 and certain provisions of the Public Health Act 1936. It has been through the Joint Consolidation Committee. It reflects the existing law, and I think that I need say no more about it in commending it to the House.

1.46 a.m.

Mr. Daniel Awdry (Chippenham)

The House will be glad to know that this matter is entirely uncontroversial. This is another major consolidation Bill by the Joint Consolidation Committee and it was produced as recently as last week. It looks a formidable document—there are 130 clauses and 16 schedules—but it is purely consolidation. It is the first consolidation of legislation affecting the National Health Service, which was established by the National Health Service Act 1946.

The consolidation draws its composition from the Acts known collectively as the National Health Service Acts 1946 to 1976. There was a major reorganisation of the National Health Service in 1973. It would be out of order to say whether we were wise in some of the changes made then, but the innovations of the 1973 Act have been brought fully into the Bill. I am sure that the Bill will be of benefit to all those concerned with the administration of the National Health Service in bringing the whole legal framework into one statute.

The House owes a considerable debt to Mr. Robson, the Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, who advised and helped the Joint Committee and was responsible for the drafting of the Bill. He has done an excellent job.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second tune

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Snape.]

Bill immediately considered in Committee.


The Second Deputy Chairman

Would it be for the convenience of the House if I put the clauses en bloc?

Clauses 1 to 130 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

The Second Deputy Chairman

Would it be convenient if I put Schedules 1 to 14 en bloc?

Schedules 1 to 14 agreed to.

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