§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the need for balloting to occur before hospitals become national health service self-governing trusts.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
We have received a number of letters from representative bodies and individuals on this subject. We have consistently made clear our view that ballots are not sensible. Applications for NHS trust status include complex and detailed proposals on service, management and personnel matters which cannot be reduced to a form which could be used as the basis for ballot when a unit applies for trust status. Regional health authorities will seek the views of all those with an interest as part of the statutory public consultation process.