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Read Codes

Volume 264: debated on Wednesday 18 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will give details of the tendering procedure for the contract for the development of a Read codes system to apply to the national health service; what business case was presented before signing the contract; and if he will list any significant revisions to the contract subsequent to signing it; [37570]

(2) if the arrangements for the contract awarded to Loughborough university for the development of Read codes and its application to the national health service complied with European Commission rules on public sector tendering; whether variations in the conventional departmental and Treasury rules were required in the placing of the contract; and if he will give the value of the contract in year 1 and prospectively in years 2 and 3; [37571]

(3) if he will make a statement on the development contract for the introduction of Read codes as the basis for computerised coding in the national health service. [37572]

In 1990 all rights to Read codes were purchased on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health from their inventor Dr. James Read. The purchase price was independently assessed at the time by experts from Hambros Bank Ltd. Further development of the codes was then given to the national health service for coding and classification, an NHS body located in Loughborough which was created for the purpose and is a part of the NHS Executive. There has therefore never been a development contract with Loughborough university or any other body and the questions of tendering and associated procedures do not apply.