NHS: Mergers

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th July 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 4 July (WA 180), whether the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has discretion to investigate a proposed merger of an NHS foundation trust with one or more NHS trusts if they consider that competition issues arise that are equivalent to those raised by the proposed merger of two foundation trusts; whether there are any specific legislative provisions that debar the OFT from undertaking such an investigation; and whether they have received legal advice on whether any such legislative provision is compliant with European Union competition law.

Photo of Baroness Wilcox Baroness Wilcox The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

In certain circumstances, where it would otherwise be uncertain as to whether the Enterprise Act 2002 general merger control regime for enterprises in the UK would apply to cases involving NHS foundation trusts, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 applies the Enterprise Act 2002 merger control provisions to NHS foundation trusts. These circumstances are where two or more NHS foundation trusts cease to be distinct activities and where one or more NHS foundation trusts and the activities of one or more businesses cease to be distinct activities. This is intended to avoid legal uncertainty as to when the merger control regime in the 2002 Act would apply to mergers involving NHS foundation trusts.

It would be for the OFT to assess in any particular case whether a relevant merger situation as per Section 23 of the Enterprise Act 2002 has arisen by assessing whether two or more enterprises have ceased to be distinct, or there are arrangements in progress or contemplation which, if carried into effect, would lead to enterprises ceasing to be distinct, and whether the jurisdictional thresholds as per Section 23 of the said Act are satisfied. The OFT has not, to date, examined a merger of an NHS foundation trust and an NHS hospital trust.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes25 people think so

No26 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.