New Regulator Given Tough Powers On Health

A Health and Social Care Bill will give tough powers to a new regulator, the Care Quality Commission, with the aim of driving up the standard of health care and social services.

The regulator will be equipped with tough powers, backed by fines, “to inspect, investigate and intervene where hospitals are failing to meet hygiene standards”.

The new regulator is designed to make patients more confident about the effectiveness and safety of the treatment and care they receive. The post was welcomed as “good news for patients” by the King’s Fund, the independent think-tank.

“This is a sensible and constructive step to help build confidence in some of the most vital public services,” said Niall Dickson, its chief executive.

New fertility laws will prevent parents from selecting the sex of their offspring during fertility treatment for “non-medical reasons”.

Some groups had lobbied for parents with a large number of children of the same sex to be allowed to create a child of the opposite gender.

However, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill prohibits this.

The laws will ensure that the creation and use of all human embryos outside the body – whatever the process used in their creation – are subject to regulation.

Provisions will also be made to recognise same-sex couples as the legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos, formalising two-mother families for the first time.