HC Deb 06 February 1973 vol 850 cc215-6
16. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Blackburn and District Hospital Management Committee about the need to increase the number of area health authorities in the new county No. 10; and what reply he has sent.

Sir K. Joseph

I have had no such representations from the Blackburn and District Hospital Management Committee.

Mrs. Castle

Surely the right hon. Gentleman is aware that all the hospital management committees in the new county of Lancashire area No. 10 are up in arms over the fact that this county area will have only one area health authority to cover a population of 1,300,000 people, whereas the rest of Manchester Regional Hospital Board area will have 10 area health authorities covering an area of 200,000 to 300,000 people. Does he not appreciate that even the Manchester Regional Hospital Board sees no logic in this situation? Will he amend his reorganisation proposals to give us six area authorities to parallel the district authorites in the local government proposals?

Sir K. Joseph

The House will be able to debate this subject when the Bill comes from another place, but there will be a number of districts inside the Lancashire health authority which will have some correspondence with the existing local authorities.

Miss Holt

Is the Secretary of State aware that the Preston and District Hospital Management Committee is equally concerned about the proposals and regards the new proposed authority as administratively unworkable?

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend should contemplate the availability of the district management teams, which will have a much closer relationship to the areas of district local authorities.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Will my right hon. Friend realise that there is unanimity in Lancashire on this point and that the management team to which he refers is no substitute for a proper health authority, which as at present proposed is far too big?

Sir K. Joseph

I take note of the formidable arguments being put against me, but this will inevitably come under discussion when the Bill comes from another place.