§ Mr. Vaz
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations he has received on the proposed merger of NHS acute hospital trusts in Leicester; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the impact (a) on public funds and (b) on health service provision of the proposed merger of hospital trusts in Leicester; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) when he intends to start the consultation process on the proposed merger of acute hospital trusts in Leicester; who will be consulted; when he proposes to give his final approval for the proposal; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
When considering merger proposals the main factor must be the benefits any merger would bring to patients. Any proposal to merge National Health Service trusts will be expected to realise management cost savings of a minimum of £500,000 within two years. These savings would be retained locally for investment in frontline NHS services.
Ministers have not received direct representation on this issue. However, on 28 January 1999 I announced that a public consultation would be initiated on proposals to merge Glenfield Hospital NHS Trust, Leicester General 520W Hospital NHS Trust and Leicester Royal Infirmary NHS Trust. The consultation will be carried out by NHS Executive Trent and will last from 22 February to 22 May. There is a formal requirement for the Department to consult with the Community Health Council but arrangements will also be made locally for the wider public to be invited to make their views known. Ministers will make a decision after the consultation has completed and all representations have been fully considered.