HC Deb 10 February 1987 vol 110 cc147-8
6. Mr. Warren

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will intervene in the dispute within the South-East Thames regional health authority regarding the location for new radiotherapy equipment; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Currie

The location for new radiotherapy equipment in South East Thames is the responsibility primarily of the regional and the district health authorities. I am aware of the region's proposal, which has been the subject of full public consultation. If the regional health authority intends to proceed with the proposal and the relevant local community health councils continue to object, the matter will be referred to Ministers. I understand that the regional health authority will be considering the proposal at its meeting on 19 March.

Mr. Warren

After four years, has not the time come for my hon. Friend to take action to provide the service that must be provided for patients who have been waiting for four years for the service to commence? Is it not time that the Government took an initiative?

Mrs. Currie

I entirely accept my hon. Friend's point. He will know that £10 million is proposed to be spent to improve cancer therapy for patients in Kent and Sussex. We await the view of the regional health authority. If the community health council still objects, the matter will come to Ministers for a decision.

Mr. Rowe

Is my hon. Friend aware that the regional health authority's proposal allows, among other things, for a concentration of skilled staff, which I believe to be extremely important? Will she assure us that before she overturns the regional health authority's intentions she will consider the effects very carefully?

Mrs. Currie

We are taking into account all the results of the consultation procedure. It is our view that whatever decisions are taken will be in the interests of all the people covered by that particular regional health authority.