§ Mr. Pavitt
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the minimum time allowed for the consultation stage of a hospital closure initiated by a district health authority; what is the usual time for the submission by the district health authority of its decision to the regional health authority; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
There is no statutory minimum time allowed for consultation on a proposed hospital closure initiated by a district health authority. Circular HSC(IS)207 gives guidance from my Department to health authorities on reasonable practices to follow. This circular advises that health authorities should normally require comments from community health councils and other interested bodies within a period of three months after the issue of the consultation document. The aim, in a case where the community health council does not oppose the proposed closure, is for the district health authority to advise the regional health authority of its intention no later than six months after the date of issue of the consultation document.