§ Mr. Anthony Coombs
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the timetable under the White Paper "Working for Patients" for health authorities to contract with hospital and community units for the provision of services.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Subject to approval of the Bill currently before Parliament, all DHAs will use contracts from April 1991 to obtain services they require from NHS trusts or units in other districts. To enable them to do this, all DHAs will be funded to meet the cost of services currently used by their residents from the same date. The services that DHAs obtain from their own directly managed units will be placed on a similar footing on the same timetable. This means that from April 1991 all DHAs will be obtaining hospital and community health services for their residents through contracts and the objective will be for these to be negotiated direct with the units concerned wherever possible.
This timetable will enable the benefits of contractual funding to be achieved more quickly and more uniformly than original proposals in working paper 2, which involved different DHAs and units moving at different timescales. The timetable has been discussed and agreed with NHS managers.
We are issuing a working paper on information requirements. Guidance on DHA allocations and further guidance on contracts will be issued shortly.
Copies of the working paper on information requirements, Working Paper 11, "Framework for Information Systems: Overview", have been placed in the Library.