§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will treat the provision of obstetric services and emergency casualty services as core services to be provided by NHS trust hospitals;
(2) if he will list those core services to be provided by NHS trust hospitals.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
It is not the Government's policy to designate such services centrally. District health authorities are responsible for assessing the health needs of their local population and contracting for health services. NHS trusts largely depend on these contracts for their income. Thus it is unlikely that an NHS trust would refuse to provide a service for which there was a local demand. If such a situation did arise, involving a service which needed to be provided locally, and which could not be provided elsewhere, that trust would be directed to provide the designated service.