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Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 13th October 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Conservative 10:15 pm, 13th October 2003

A few moments ago, I debated whether to oppose the Question, thinking that Members of the Committee might be wearying of matters financial. However, I am rather glad that we have had the debate, especially as with the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, it has been confirmed that fair shares will be a dominant feature. All those NHS trust applicants can think again about freedoms, which may simply be a figment of their imaginations. I hope that what the two Labour Peers have said gets wide publicity among the NHS trusts considering becoming foundation trusts.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. I am becoming more and more concerned that all the rigmarole of prudential codes, all the language of free cash flow and metrics and ratios, is simply an elaborate smokescreen for life going on as before, probably in the most dishonest way.

Today is not the day to challenge formally whether Clause 12 should stand part of the Bill, as we have much to look forward to in the Minister's reply to the many detailed points that we have raised. However, he should be on notice that the area will receive the most careful attention at the next stage of our deliberations.