Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:30 am on 16th October 2003.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe Conservative 11:30 am, 16th October 2003

I am again grateful to my noble friend for her support. We must ask which approach carries the greater risk: the Government's approach—which, by their admission and in my estimation as a non-IT specialist, carries considerable risk; or the approach floated in my amendment, which I advocate, under which foundation trusts should have a measure of freedom to procure and commission a system that suits their needs. The Minister and I agree that there must be interoperability and compatibility. That is not in dispute. Clearly, different parts of the NHS must speak to each other through their IT systems. But the Minister has not made the case for imposing a giant national system on the NHS.