HC Deb 25 February 1986 vol 92 cc539-40W
Mr. Phillip Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he proposes for the management of the special hospitals once the Rampton hospital review board completes its period of office in June; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Norman Fowler

The Rampton hospital review board was established in 1981, following the Boynton Committee's inquiry into the management of the hospital. Previously Rampton had been run by a management team, chaired by a medical director reporting directly to officials in my Department. This arrangement still applies to the other special hospitals—Broadmoor, Moss Side and Park Lane. It means centralised management from London and deprives the hospital of local support in translating national policies into local practices.

The establishment of the review board at Rampton provided an intermediate management tier between the hospital management team and my Department. The board is chaired by a business man and has members with relevant interests and experience who know the hospital well and can stand a little apart from the day-to-day business. The board has been able to provide closer oversight of the hospital management team and strengthen its accountability. It has also introduced tighter mechanisms of financial control and has generally encouraged better management practices. The hospital has clearly benefited from the establishment of the Board and its image has also improved.

I have therefore decided that a permanent local board should be established at Rampton hospital when the term of the present review board expires in June. Like the existing board, it will be a special health authority and accountable to me.

The other special hospitals face the same challenges and can also benefit from the wider perspective and fresh insights of an informed local Board. I shall therefore be appointing a local Board for Broadmoor and one for the two Merseyside hospitals, Moss Side and Park Lane to enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the Special Hospitals Service as a whole. The aim is to establish the other two boards by the end of the year. The necessary statutory instruments will be introduced in due course. My overall responsibilities as Secretary of State will remain unchanged.