§ Mr. Adley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking to ensure that his proposals to reorganise the administrative structure of the National Health Service result in an improvement in local consultative processes; if he will ensure that doctors, nurses, midwives and other medical personnel have a greater involvement than at present; and if he will ensure that formal consultation at community level, starts before, and not after, formal decisions on matters such as closures, have been taken.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The importance of consultation with staff and outside bodies on appropriate matters is already well recognised; for example, area health authorities must consult community and staff interests before taking a formal decision permanently to close a hospital. 653W I cannot anticipate the proposals for changes to the structure of the Health Service which the Government will be putting forward later this year, but our intention is that generally they will make existing consultative arrangements more effective.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the last period for which figures are available, what was the proportion of costs which were identifiably administrative to the total cost of the National Health Service; and what were the similar proportions in the two preceding periods.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The percentages of expenditure incurred by health authorities in England attributable to headquarters administration in the past three financial years are as follows:
1976–77 4.36 per cent. 1977–78 4.24 per cent. 1978–79 4.15 per cent. (Provisional)