§ Mr. Dobson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) which of the Korner recommendations suggested the abolition of the distinction between urgent and non-urgent cases;
(2) which professional organisations were consulted about the abolition of the distinction between urgent and non-urgent cases; and if any representations have been received from them;
(3) what change he will now make to principle 14.3 contained in his booklet "Management of Private Practice in Health Service Hospitals in England and Wales" after the abolition of the distincion between urgent and non-urgent cases.
§ Mr. Newton
[holding answer 5 May 1988]: In paragraph 11.20 of its first report to the Secretary of State, the Korner steering group listed the minimum data which it recommended should be collected on the demand for hospital treatment. The steering group purposely did not include a distinction between urgent and non-urgent cases. Paragraph 11.21 makes clear that the recording of such a distinction should be left to local choice.
Comments on the report were received from the Joint Consultants Committee, the General Medical Services Committee, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Radiologists. None of these commented specifically on the recommendations in paragraphs 11.20 and 11.21.
The discontinuation of the distinction between urgent and non-urgent cases in central statistical returns does not affect the operation of common waiting lists for private and national health service patients which will continue to be based on clinical priority.
§ Mr. Jacques Arnold
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific steps are being taken to reduce waiting lists for orthopaedic surgery in Dartford and Gravesham district health authority.
§ Mr. Newton
[holding answer 5 May 1988]: There is a variety of local developments going on in orthopaedics in Dartford and Gravesham. If my hon. Friend cares to write to the chairman of the health authority, I am sure he will be pleased to provide the information required.