Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 13th October 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Conservative 10:00 pm, 13th October 2003

I accept that there is more capital going into the NHS now than there was during the early 1990s, but despite the increases the Minister referred to, there is still a very significant backlog in the NHS. The backlog maintenance must be something like #2.5 billion or #3 billion, even without considering the demands on the NHS for new medical technology or replacing existing technology, such as scanners—for which, again, there is a significant backlog.

Although increasing sums have gone in, we should not regard ourselves as being in some kind of seventh heaven so far as capital is concerned, because the capital needs in the NHS are very large. Our concern has always been that the foundation trust sector would have the ability to take resources away from the rest of the NHS because of the way in which the pound for pound calculation works on the departmental expenditure limit. The Minister has not really answered that point, which we see as a major problem.

I am not sure whether the amendment that we tabled is the right way to deal with the problem; we may need something even more direct. I shall reflect on that and read Hansard again, and doubtless we shall discuss the issue further. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.