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[Part II]

Part of Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 20th May 2003.

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Photo of Evan Harris Evan Harris Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon 6:30 pm, 20th May 2003

The Minister is right that none of what he said was a surprise and now is not the time to have the debate that he wants about the clinical nature and the evidence base for the clinical nature of the performance indicators. I am still in doubt about what restraints act in the interim period, either on NHS trusts, which is the main concern, or indeed under clause 5, for any NHS body other than an NHS trust—in the words of clause 4—to do

''anything (including the things mentioned in paragraph 16 of Schedule 2 to the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990''.

If one looks at the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, there is a lot that seems to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of preparing for NHS foundation trust status. I am sorry that the Minister did not take the opportunity to set out the restraints and oversights, and say what actions might be taken by an NHS trust that were claimed necessary or reasonable in order to prepare itself for NHS foundation status.

My argument is that throughout the process, however flawed many people may feel that it is, the priority must be good clinical care of patients and an equitable and ethical approach. What concerns me is the fact that there is an additional licence to an NHS trust to act for the purpose of becoming a foundation trust, which, if there were no additional oversight, would mean that everything would go out of the window in a desperate attempt to gain the supposed freedoms and apparent extra funding that will go along with the status. Clearly, given that the Minister did not address that matter in a way that satisfies me, we may need to come back to this later. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.