§ Mr. Denis Howell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he can now report upon the result of his inquiries into the letter written to all West Midlands ambulance personnel on 18 December by the regional general manager of the West Midlands health authority threatening them and any passengers they might carry with prosecution under the Theft Act; if he has now been able to make inquiries into all the matters submitted to him in the memorandum provided by the Birmingham group of Labour hon. Members; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The letter of 18 December from the general manager of West Midlands regional health authority to all West Midlands ambulance personnel pointed out that if ambulance personnel drive an ambulance when not authorised by the authority they may be liable to prosecution. This is a factually correct statement. Of course, if ambulance crews turn out in856W response to a control room this would not apply and West Midlands ambulance personnel are well aware that if they are responding to a call from ambulance control they are authorised to use ambulance service vehicles.
The memorandum submitted to me on behalf of several right hon. and hon. Members for Birmingham constituencies dated 17 January concerns local operational matters which are the responsibility of the West Midlands regional health authority and I will pass the memorandum on to the chairman of that authority so that he can respond.