HC Deb 06 November 1973 vol 863 cc789-90
13. Mr. Mayhew

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has reduced the number of teams in the Hospital Advisory Service.

Sir K. Joseph

Because of the need to ease the pressure of work for hospital service management in the period around the reorganisation of the National Health Service.

Mr. Mayhew

Is it not particularly during a period of reorganisation, with upheavals, that long-stay patients may need special attention and protection? Is the Secretary of State aware of the excellent work being done by these teams in helping to improve hospital conditions, and will he reconsider the decision he has taken?

Sir K. Joseph

I am aware of the excelent work being done, but the hon. Gentleman may not realise that about a year's effort by a large number of officers is involved in preparing for a Hospital Advisory Service visit, during the visit, and in the follow-up. During the time of the enormous extra burden of reorganisation it is not reasonable to keep the advisory service at its original level, and the proposal to run it down for the moment was agreed with both the original and the new director of the service.