HC Deb 02 December 1976 vol 921 cc251-2W
Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to publish Lord McCarthy's report on the Whitley Council system; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ennals

The report is being published today and copies have been placed in the Library. On behalf of my colleagues, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, I would like to acknowledge the care taken by Lord McCarthy in producing this report, which results from the initiative taken by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). Lord McCarthy's thorough analysis of the problems and his approach to seeking a consensus of opinion on desirable change provides a most valuable basis for further consideration primarily by both Sides of the Whitley Councils and by NHS management. The Whitley Councils are independent bodies established by agreement between management and staff and we do not wish to impose changes or make innovations which are not regarded by the parties concerned as desirable.

As the next step we are inviting interested parties to submit their views on the acceptability of the recommendations with a view to identifying issues on which there is agreement and planning a timetable for implementation. We recognise that for NHS management these views will have to be given against the background of resource constraints. I am sure that Lord McCarthy's report will promote a constructive and co-operative approach to this exercise.