Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:45 am on 16th October 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Crossbench 11:45 am, 16th October 2003

Perhaps I may explore further the information flow that will be available to a strategic health authority. If I heard the Minister correctly, the foundation trust will not have to report to the strategic health authority. So the strategic health authority will be able to invite information, but it will be up to the foundation trust to give or withhold whatever information it might perceive to be in its best interest. On the basis of the information it receives, the strategic health authority will take a decision on specialised commissioning. I am concerned that they will then be able to ask CHAI for information founded on only an inspection that it might have carried out some time ago. Changes that might occur in the local health economy could be disguised in the name of commercialism. I do not see how the strategic health authority will be able to obtain detailed information if the foundation trust decides that it does not want to disclose it and just wants to have the contract continued.

I am sorry to push the Minister further, but I am worried about an information gap appearing between those responsible for highly specialised commissioning and those who will provide the services. Until now, as the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege, said, the strategic health authority has had a duty to hold the ring on services in an area, and has done so.