Section 52 - Secretary of State’s duty to keep health service functions under review
535.This section inserts new section 247C into the NHS Act. This gives the Secretary of State a duty to keep health service functions under review. The purpose of this is to make clear on the face of legislation that Secretary of State is ultimately accountable for ensuring that the national level arm’s length bodies, such as the NHS Commissioning Board, Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (including the Healthwatch England Committee of CQC), are performing their functions effectively. This duty is backed by powers of intervention in the event of significant failure (see new section 13Z2 of the NHS Act and sections 71, 245, 272 and 294 of this Act). This section was added to the Act following the Department’s response to the NHS Future Forum, as a way of emphasising the Government’s continuing responsibility for the NHS.
536.Section 247C also makes it explicit that the Secretary of State may report on how the national level organisations have discharged their functions, as part of his annual report on the performance of the health service (see section 53).