§ 22. Mr. Beith
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which contracts being made by health authorities for hospital treatment take account of established patient and general practitioner preference for hospital treatment outside district boundaries, particularly in respect of non-budget holding practices.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
I have made it clear that district health authorities should place contracts in line with GPs' preferences. DHAs are consulting GPs now on referral patterns and analysing their own information on existing patient flows. I expect DHAs to be discussing their contracting intentions with local GPs throughout the autumn.