§ Mr. Hatton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take special steps to safeguard the lives of patients in view of the recent statement on behalf of members of the Hospital Consultants' and Specialists' Association that by stepping up their heal-to-rule action the risk of injury or even death to patients will be increased.
§ Mrs. Castle
Health authorities will continue as far as possible to take steps necessary to ensure the maintenance of essential services. Ecalation of the present industrial action could only be at the expense of patient care. Further clarification talks at the BMA's request are now being held and the Doctors and Dentists Review Body is expected to be reporting shortly on doctors' and dentists' remuneration. Against this background I hope that consultants will now return to normal working.