HC Deb 20 July 1989 vol 157 cc291-2W
Mr. John Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the proposals in the White Paper, "Working for Patients", to increase the number of consultants.

Mr. Mellor

Twelve letters and five parliamentary questions on this specific proposal have been received.

Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how women general practitioners will be affected by the new general practitioners' contract.

Mr. Mellor

The new contract will increase opportunities for women GPs. There is considerable demand from patients to have the choice of seeing a woman doctor, and partnerships will be keen to provide this option. Formalised arrangements for flexible working will provide specific opportunities for women doctors with domestic or other commitments.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether expressions of interest by persons employed in, or associated with National Health Service hospitals, in the hospital concerned changing status to the proposed National Health Service trust status, were supposed to be referred for comment to members of the regional health authority in whose area the hospitals affected lie; and whether he has relieved regional health authorities of that duty before they forwarded such expressions of interest to his Department without regional health authority members having the opportunity to comment on them.

Mr. Mellor

The chief executive of the National Health Service management board, in his letter of 14 March to regional general managers, asked regional health authorities to invite interested parties in their regions to provide outline expressions of interest on their proposals for establishment of NHS hospital trusts. Regional health authorities were asked to consider the expressions of interest and to send them, together with any comments which they might have on the proposals, to the Department. The letter did not explicitly require expressions of interest to be referred to the full health authority for comment at this stage. There will, of course, be opportunities for full discussion of any applications which are developed from initial expressions of interest.