§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he will provide to health authorities and NHS trusts on observing the requirements of the protocol of the administrative court that public bodies must reply to all correspondence over disputed matters in 14 days. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 17 December 2002]: The Pre-Action Protocol for potential judicial review claims stipulates that public bodies exercising a judicial function should respond to letters before action in an instance where judicial review is threatened within 14 days. National health service organisations' duty to follow the Protocol requires no further guidance from the Department, and as statutory bodies, they will need to consult their own legal advisers on how to proceed in each case. However, compliance with the Protocol and with other statutory bodies forms part of the requirements set out in 'Improvement, Expansion and Reform', the NHS planning and priorities framework for 2003–06.