§ Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the legal provisions regarding consultations by health authorities and trusts with elected representatives and members of the public on proposals to close hospitals or reduce the numbers of beds in hospitals.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Health authorities are required to consult their local community health council (CHC) or councils when substantial changes in local services are under consideration. There is no similar requirement for national health service trusts to consult CHCs. However, as a matter of course, NHS trusts discuss proposed service changes with their purchasers. If appropriate, the health authority would then consult the relevant CHC.