HC Deb 24 July 1979 vol 971 cc120-1W
38. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the procedures for public involvement in decision-making in the National Health Service.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

As presently constituted, members of health authorities are appointed after wide-ranging consultations with National Health Service and other interests in public life and at least one-third of their total membership is drawn from local government. All those who serve bring with them knowledge of and interest in the needs of the communities they have been appointed to serve. Health authorities also involve the public directly by issuing planning documents and proposals for hospital closures for public discussion. None the less, I want to see a more local Health Service, more responsive to the needs of local communities. Subject to ministerial guidance on major policies and priorities, I intend to see responsibility for decision making brought even closer to the point of delivery of services to patients. The Government will publish their proposals on this in the autumn in response to the report of the Royal Commission on the National Health Service.