A motion to enable greater scrutiny of key sections of the Health and Social Care Bill has been changed at the last minute following discussions between ministers and crossbench peers.
Lord Owen’s proposal will place parts of the bill, including changes to the duty of the secretary of state for health, into a Lords select committee. The committee would then have until 19 December to scrutinise those sections in depth and take evidence on them.
The new motion is narrower than Lord Owen’s original proposal, which the government had opposed, fearing it was an attempt to “wreck” the bill.
If passed, the select committee would examine “the extent to which the Secretary of State remains responsible and accountable for the comprehensive health service”, and “individual ministerial responsibility to parliament”. The Lords would also examine “the extent to which legal accountability to the courts is fragmented”.
Previously Lord Owen had proposed to send dozens of clauses to committee, including the new failure regime for trusts, and all of part three of the bill, which deals with competition.
A spokeswoman for Lord Owen said the change came after discussions between Lord Owen, crossbencher Lord Hennessy and health minister Earl Howe, Department of Health representatives and leader of the Lords, Lord Strathclyde.