HC Deb 24 June 2004 vol 422 c1550W
Dr. Richard Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reviews of contested hospital reconfigurations the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Panel has undertaken since its formation; and how many are awaiting referral by the Secretary of State to the panel. [178840]

Mr. Hutton

The independent reconfiguration panel (IRP) has, since its establishment, offered advice to the Secretary of State on one contested proposal for reconfiguration of services in East Kent.

The Government's aim is to ensure that options for national health service change are developed with the help and support of local people and that, wherever possible, disagreements are resolved locally without recourse to Ministers. To assist this, the IRP also offers generic advice and assistance on reconfiguration issues to NHS organisations, local authorities and other interested bodies up to the commencement of formal consultation. So far this year, the IRP has advised on proposals under development in North London, Teeside, Avon, Hampshire and Manchester. There are no reviews of contested reconfigurations currently awaiting referral by the Secretary of State to the IRP.

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