Liberal Democrats peers are planning to bring about a change to
the Delayed Discharges Bill to prevent the proposals to fine social
services coming into force until 2004.
Health spokesperson Lord Clement Jones is expected to resort to the
rarely used “sunrise clause” mechanism to introduce an amendment in
the committee stage of the bill on 17 and 18 February, stating that
it should not be enacted until April 2004 at the earliest. A vote
on the amendment would follow.
Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on social care
in the House of Lords, said that everyone who responded to the
consultation felt April 2003 was not an achievable implementation
“We want to delay that to give local authorities and the NHS the
chance to put together the infrastructure needed to make it work,”
It follows concerns raised about the policy by the House of Commons
health select committee in its annual report.
“We are disappointed that the government has not taken note of our
concerns and acted upon our recommendations regarding the risks of
cross-charging mechanisms to deal with delayed discharges,” the
The Commons health select committee report is available from