§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will investigate the reasons for the delay in responding to letters from the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey relating to constituents; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Denham
The delay in replying to the right hon. Member's letters of both 29 February 2000 and 14 June 2000 resulted from both administrative problems and the original correspondence being lost within the Department.
The delay in reply to the right hon. Member's correspondence of 29 February concerning Mrs. Clay was due to administrative problems within the Department. The delay to the correspondence of 14 June 2000 concerning constituent Mrs. Clay was due to the original correspondence being lost within the Department. Replies to both letters have been sent. I know that the Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive of the National Health Service has written to the right hon. Member to apologise for the unacceptable delay involved in both these cases. New operational procedures have been introduced in the Department to ensure that this sort of delay should not happen again.
§ Mr. Wilkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood, for answer on 26 February 2001 relating to proposed hospital development in Paddington. 353W