§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure access for patients from Denton and Reddish to Christie hospital, Manchester, if it goes ahead with plans to opt out.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
NHS trusts will not opt out, but will remain firmly part of the NHS. It will be for district health authorities to determine, in the light of local circumstances, what services are required to meet the health care needs of their resident population and to secure provision of those services through contracts. As part of this process, health authorities will identify those services which must be provided locally. Where a unit which applies for NHS trust status is the only sensible option for providing such services, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will approve arrangements for their continued provision on establishment of the NHS trust. Any later changes will be subject to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's further approval if they cannot be agreed locally.