§ 27. Mr. Braine
asked the Minister of Health what advice his Department took from local authorities on the subject of ambulance services before giving evidence to the Royal Commission on Local Government.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
None, Sir, but copies of the evidence were sent to the Local Authority Associations and the Greater London Council inviting their views.
§ Mr. Braine
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what criteria he used in coming to his conclusion that this important and generally well-run service should be transferred from democratically elected local authorities?
§ Mr. Robinson
My Department's evidence to the Royal Commission was based on its own accumulated knowledge and experience, and I think that it would have been inappropriate to consult the local authorities on the formulation of Departmental views.
§ Dr. David Kerr
Would my right hon. Friend accept that there are lots of deficiencies in the present locally run ambulance services, but that it is not very clear that they will be removed by passing them to another part of the National Health Service? Will he note that many of us feel that the only answer is totally to iron out the borders between the three parts of the Health Service? Would he give an assurance that there will be no transfer of the ambulance service at least 1049 until the Royal Commission has reported?
§ Mr. Robinson
No. I have announced that I am considering the situation following the views which the local authority associations and the Royal Commission have expressed to me. I will announce a decision in due course.