§ Mrs. Iris Robinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what studies he has commissioned into speeding up the flow of emergency cases through local hospitals. 
§ Angela Smith
Significant work is under way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes for managing flows of emergency patients through hospitals. The Eastern Health and Social Services Board initiated the Improving the Flow of Emergency Admissions project at the Ulster Hospital in January 2003. Building on the lessons learned from this project, and the expertise and work of similar initiatives both in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, senior officials within my Department are progressing a Regional Programme to improve the flow of emergency admissions, ensuring that recognised best practice is implemented across all hospitals in Northern Ireland.