§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) why the South-East Thames regional health authority in its proposed rationalisation of radiotherapy departments, decided to close St. Thomas's radiotherapy department;
(2) what consultations between the South-East Thames regional health authority and the radiotherapy department at St. Thomas's took place before the decision to close the St. Thomas's department was made; and what visits were made to determine its suitability or otherwise for treating patients before the decision was made;
(3) what will be the cost of reorganising the radiotherapy departments as proposed under the South-East Thames scheme including the costs of rebuilding, removal and refitting equipment; what will be the effect on patient care; what movement of patients will be necessary in order to provide treatment; what changes in staffing and at what cost will be necessary in order to organise one radiotherapy centre on three sites; and how many of the present nine treatment rooms at St. Thomas's hospital will be in use as a result of the proposed reorganisation.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
None of the radiotherapy departments at Guy's, King's College or St. Thomas's hospitals is being closed. The South-East Thames regional health authority has decided that radiotherapy services in south-east London should be provided by a single unit comprising the radiotherapy departments at all three hospitals Before making its decision the authority consulted the three district health authorities responsible for the hospitals and visits to radiotherapy departments, including St. Thomas's, were made by members of the regional health authority. I understand that the RHA considers this rationalisation will protect the service provided to patients by maintaining continuity of care and the present accessibility of facilities. It does not envisage that it will require any movement of patients. Information on the cost of the reorganisation, on changes in staffing and their costs, and on the number of treatment rooms at St. Thomas's which will continue in use is not held centrally. The hon. Member may therefore wish to approach the RHA direct for these details.
Our only instruction to all authorities considering rationalisation is that they should seek to provide the best possible service to patients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.