HC Deb 21 May 1990 vol 173 c39W
Mr. Hannam

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities have a duty to consult disabled people and their carers on their community care plans.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The Government are currently examining ways of incorporating into the National Health Service and Community Care Bill a requirement for local authorities to consult service users and their carers on community care plans.

Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's policy towards the role of small community hospitals as part of the community care policies of the Government; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Small hospitals can play a valuable part in providing a range of services where it is needed locally. They can be more accessible to both patients and staff alike and foster closer relations between local people and primary care services than do larger hospitals. District health authorities in determining the best pattern of services to meet local needs must weigh these benefits against those of larger district hospitals which can provide a full range of specialised treatment and help avoid uneconomic duplication of services on a number of different sites.