§ Mr. Newens
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consult the Essex Area Health Authority about the increase in the number of unused beds in the year ended 30th June 1976 with a view to ensuring that priority is given in future expenditure plans to reversing this trend in the face of growing waiting lists for hospital places in some specialities.
§ Mr. Moyle
Bed utilisation is a matter for the area health authority to determine in the light of the money and staff available to it and the operational requirements obtaining at any given time.
It is the policy of the North East Thames Regional Health Authority to increase the proportion of its finance which is allocated to Essex and it has recently published for consultation an interim report of its Regional Resource Allocation Working Party, which contains proposals to that end. I understand that the Regional Strategic Plan, now being prepared, contains proposals for improving services in Essex.