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Briefing on the Health and Care Bill for committee stage in the House of Lords

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has issued a briefing to Peers in the House of Lords ahead of the Health and Care Bill committee stage starting on 11 January 2022. 

The RCP is asking Peers to speak to several amendments that would strengthen workforce planning, health inequalities and clinical research within the bill.  

The coalition of health and care organisations supporting an amendment tabled by Baroness Cumberlege to strengthen workforce planning continues to grow. Almost 90 organisations now support the amendment, and together have issued a joint briefing to parliamentarians.  

The RCP’s briefing calls for:  

  • Greater accountability and transparency on workforce numbers. The RCP is one of almost 90 organisations asking Peers to speak in support of Baroness Cumberlege’s amendment for the secretary of state to have a duty to publish independent assessments of current and future workforce numbers every 2 years. This is the only way we will understand how many health and care workers are needed to meet patient demand now and in future to meet demand. A dedicated briefing on this amendment is available here.  

  • Strengthened provisions on health inequalities. The RCP supports calls for: 

  • the triple aim to be amended to explicitly reference health inequalities 

  • NHS England to be given a statutory duty to publish guidance for NHS bodies on collecting, analysing, reporting and publishing data on factors or indicators relevant to health inequalities.   

  • the ‘duties as reducing inequalities’ to be amended to include a requirement for ICBs to set up systems to identify and monitor inequalities in health between different groups of people within the population of its area.  

  • Following the success of the COVID-19 vaccine, the bill is also an opportunity to prioritise clinical research and cement the UK’s place as a global leader in that space. The current duty for ICBs to promote research should be strengthened so that the bodies for which ICBs are responsible have a duty to ‘conduct’ research.