HC Deb 01 April 1985 vol 76 cc488-9W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action his Department has taken or plans to take to increase co-operation in research, joint facilities and harmonisation of systems between health services in European Community member states; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

The Department plays a significant part in the third concerted action programme of medical and public health research (1982–1986) under which the community provides funds for the co-ordination of research funded from national sources. The programme which comprises thirty three projects, one of which is entirely devoted to health services research, is supervised by four Standing Committees. The United Kingdom assists in the preparation of protocols for these activities and takes a major part in the consideration of all health service research projects.

Increased harmonisation of the health systems of member states of the Community is not one of our objectives. However, last November my right hon. and learned Friend met with our colleagues from the other member states in Brussels for an informal exchange of views and information on a number of health matters, including the control of health care costs, and action against drug misuse, smoking and communicable diseases. Another such meeting is scheduled to take place in Venice in May.