Report (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 7:22 pm on 6th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 7:22 pm, 6th March 2012

My Lords, the amendments are a good example of the thickets and undergrowth of the elaborate structures to deal with competition generally in the economy into which the health service is being drawn. I have no doubt that the noble Earl is right in describing the amendments as technical; the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, is also technical. It is not the worse for that, but this whole area ought to be removed from the Bill. Our Amendment 184A would remove Clause 77 altogether. Our view is that that elaborate machinery and the use of the Office of Fair Trading is not appropriate for mergers of foundation trusts. Having said that, we do not intend to divide the House; we simply deplore the fact that this machinery, somewhat refined by the amendments, is being cranked up to apply unnecessarily.