Pharmaceutical services in Wales
309.Sections 30 to 32 introduce new provisions enabling Local Health Boards (LHBs) to take action against certain NHS contractors for breaches of the arrangements for providing those services. The sections that relate to breaches of arrangements between LHBs and contractors relate to the providers of both pharmaceutical and ophthalmic services in Wales.
310.In addition, the sections amend legislation concerning the provision of LPS contracts enabling LHBs to provide LPS in prescribed circumstances. Under existing legislation, LHBs can only commission such services.
Section 30: Pharmaceutical lists - minor amendment
311.Section 30 corrects an apparent anomaly in section 83(6)(d) of the NHS (Wales) Act 2006. Section 83(6)(c) refers to a particular kind of application for inclusion in a pharmaceutical list and was not intended to affect the meaning of “such an application” in section 83(6)(d). The amendment makes clear that the provision in section 83(6)(d) for the inclusion of an applicant on an LHB list for a fixed period of time may apply to any application made under section 83.
Section 31: Breach of terms of arrangements: notices and penalties
312.Section 31 inserts before Chapter 2 of Part 8 of the NHS (Wales) Act a new Chapter 1A, consisting of new section 106A, that concerns the issuing by LHBs of notices to certain NHS contractors and the withholding of payments to such contractors by LHBs.
313.Section 106A enables regulations to provide that where a contractor breaches a term of arrangements for providing NHS pharmaceutical services or arrangements for providing general ophthalmic services (for example, of a term of service, such as agreed quality standards or of performance in the provision of services) then LHBs will have the power to issue remedial notices, requiring corrective action to be taken or requiring the contractor to refrain from continuing with actions which have led to the breach, within a specified period. The regulations may also enable LHBs to withhold all or part of any payments due to the contractor for a prescribed period in view of such a breach. Powers to withhold payments could be used on their own or in conjunction with the issue of remedial notices.
314.Section 106A(2) requires that any regulations under this section must include prescribed rights of appeal for the contractor against decisions made by the LHB under this section.
315.Section 106A(3) provides definitions for this section.
Section 32: LPS schemes: powers of Local Health Boards
316.Section 32 introduces changes to Schedule 7 to the NHS (Wales) Act that will enable LHBs to provide LPS in certain circumstances, for example, in the event of a national emergency. The circumstances in which LHBs are able to provide LPS will be set out in regulations made by the Welsh Ministers.