HC Deb 10 June 1991 vol 192 c591
7. Mr. Hain

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to ballot local NHS staff and surrounding communities before proceeding with any further plans for hospitals to be granted trust status.

Mr. David Hunt

I have made it absolutely clear that the local community and staff of a potential NHS trust will be invited to comment during the statutory three-month public consultation on each of the formal applications received.

Mr. Hain

The Secretary of State is dodging the question. Following the disclosure of the fact that his officials are discussing the question of opting out with those responsible for administering Neath, Singleton and Morrison hospitals, does he agree that there are widespread fears about the impact of trust status on patient care and job losses? Will he agree to proper one-person-one-vote ballots of all local residents or, failing that, to proper ballots, through electoral college arrangements, of the community health council, the medical staff, and staff in the hospitals—or is the Welsh Office so wedded to the dogma of the No Turning Back group that it wishes to turn its back on patient care and democratic rights?

Mr. Hunt

I refer the hon. Gentleman to section 4 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, which will show him that we are talking about one health service body becoming another health service body. Trusts are defined as national health service bodies. That is a clear statement of the law—the hon. Gentleman knows that, and it is about time that he recognised it.

I make no apology for the fact that, as Secretary of State for Wales, I have secured record resources for the NHS in Wales, not only in cash terms but in real terms. For every man, woman and child in Wales, £602 is spent, and we are now trying to ensure that the record resources that we have won are concentrated on patient care.