§ Ms Primarolo
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will make a statement on the effect on the need for hospital beds of expanding primary care;
(2) what evidence and research her Department has examined on the relationship between the levels of primary and secondary care services.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Developments in primary care are only one of the ways in which we can move services closer to the patient's home. These, together with clinical advances leading to shorter lengths of hospital stay and higher rates of day cases, have a significant impact on the number of in-patient beds required. Ultimately, it is for local health authorities, taking account of all these factors and the views of local people, to assess the level of services needed to meet the requirements in their area and to negotiate appropriate provision. We will be examining the changing pattern of service provision to ensure that patients continue to receive effective and high-quality care.