Against the background of current government efficiency drives within the National Health Service, Hemel Hempstead-based Information Technology Plc yesterday announced plans to expand its healthcare computer systems business with the proposed acquisition of Silicon Lab Ltd, a three-year-old supplier of pathology laboratory software, based at Aston University’s Science Park in Birmingham. The acquisition – once cleared with ITL shareholders in April – will merge ITL’s existing healthcare activities with those of Silicon Lab, to produce a new Aston based company called ITL Silicon Lab: initial consideration of an indicated UKP1.5m will comprise 2.5m new ITL shares and a UKP100,000 cash; a further performance-based payment will be made in 1990. ITL Silicon Lab claims it will hold a 40% stake in the UK departmental pathology laboratory systems market, will initially offer two independent products – Silicon Lab’s Computer Integrated Laboratory Management System written in Mumps for DEC hardware, and ITL’s Multilab laboratory automation package which runs on the new Unix-based ITL Series 21; the Mumps package will also be ported to run under Unix within the next nine months. It also plans a Unix-based information management system that will enable hospitals to link resources and cost information and simultaneously provide a regional resources overview to allow trading between the public and private sectors. ITL claims that the healthcare computer market is growing by at least 20% a year and that UKP1.5m has already been earmarked by the UK government for computer spending within the Health Service: similar health administration trends in Europe will also provide additional positive market opportunities for the new subsidiary outside Britain.