HC Deb 04 November 1968 vol 772 cc475-6
30. Mr. Arthur Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to initiate discussion with interested parties on the proposals contained in the Green Paper on the National Health Service; and what timetable he has for implementing the resulting conclusions.

39. Mr. Maurice Macmillan

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he is having with the various bodies concerned with the Green Paper on the new structure of the National Health Service; how many of them have reported their views to him in writing; and what extension of time he has given to enable the remainder to do so.

Mr. Crossman

The time for submitting views in writing has been extended to (at latest) the end of January and I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the Answer given on 25th October to the hon. Members for Norwich, North (Mr. Wallace) and Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt). Up to 31st October, 46 bodies had submitted their comments. I shall need to study the views expressed before considering what form the next stages in consultation should take. Because the Green Paper is Green not White, the question of a timetable for implementation does not yet arise.—[Vol. 770, c. 391–2.]

Mr. Jones

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware of the growing concern in local government circles which quite properly expect that the Royal Commission's Report will lead to a devolving of responsibility from the Government? Is he not aware that they view with apprehension the movement of services of this sort to nominated bodies rather than elected councils?

Mr. Crossman

If I understand the question aright, the hon. Gentleman should be glad that we are postponing until January any possibility of reaching a decision. As the Maud Commission's Report clearly must be considered before we come to a conclusion, there cannot be any harm in giving people more time carefully to reflect on the Green Paper.