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Chamber and committees

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

UK Government Health and Care Bill

Letter from Cabinet secretary for Health and Social Care

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care
Humza Yousaf MSP
Gillian Martin MSP
Convener of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
Scottish Parliament

23 December 2021,

Dear Gillian
UK Government Health and Care Bill

I am writing to the Committee to provide you with an update on the progress of the UK

Government’s Health and Care Bill, and the legislative consent process associated with the remaining clauses which would enable UK Ministers to act in areas of devolved competence.

The Bill is scheduled to begin its passage through the House of Lords Committee Stage on 11 January 2022, and this is expected to conclude on 4 February. The Bill is then scheduled to have its third reading around 7 March, with Royal Assent expected on 8 March. DHSC has advised that these timelines are subject to change, depending on the pace of the Committee.

In previous letters, and during my evidence session with the Committee, I have informed you that DHSC officials have failed to provide necessary information in good time from the beginning and, regrettably, this has continued. There are three outstanding provisions that require legislative consent for which my officials are awaiting key information, and they have been advised that some of the information won’t be provided until after recess. To this end, I have outlined below my current position on each of the provisions.

Secretary of State’s power to transfer or delegate functions

As you may recall, I recommended, in my original LCM of 31 August 2021, that the Scottish Parliament withhold its consent to this provision until suitable amendments had been made. There has been little progress with this clause, owing much to the complexity of the landscape and ambiguity of the powers, and my officials are finding it challenging to secure any meaningful amendments.

Criminalisation of Hymenoplasty

This is a new amendment which will seek to introduce a clause to criminalise Hymenoplasty across the UK. I am supportive of the policy intention of this provision and agree that a four nations approach is appropriate.

Mandatory Reporting

This is also a new amendment and will seek to introduce a mandatory reporting system for industry payments made to the healthcare sector. We only became aware of this new amendment on 10 December 2021. The information, again, arrived incomplete and offered no explanation as to why legislative consent was required, nor did it make provision for a role for Scottish Ministers or a requirement to obtain consent. I have already expressed these concerns to the UK Government, and I await receipt of proposed amended wording which respects the devolution settlement.

Although I am very frustrated with this current situation, I will continue to press the UK Government for the outstanding information. My officials have also raised some other concerns with me, and they are working at pace to fully understand the implications. I will update the Committee as soon as I am in a position to do so.

It is with regret that I have been unable to make the progress required, and I would like to thank the Committee for their understanding.

Kind Regards
Humza Yousaf