§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent representations he has received on the proposal to close the Mary Rose Birthing centrein Portsmouth; 
(2) what recent assessment his Department has made of the proposal to close the community midwife-led maternity service at St. Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth and transfer the maternity services to Queen Alexandra Hospital; what rest arch has been conducted on the effect on expectant mothers; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if he will make it his policy to use his powers to ensure that the midwife-led maternity unit at St. Mary's Hospital Portsmouth is retained; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
The Department has not made an assessment of tho proposal to close the community midwife-led maternity service at St. Mary's Hospital. In line with our policy of "Shifting the Balance of Power", the configuration of local health services is a matter for the local national health service, working in partnership with its local community. It is for local NHS organisations, with their knowledge and expertise, to plan and develop services based on that knowledge. I am aware that the provision of maternity services in Portsmouth is under review and that Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, in collaboration with the three local primary care trusts, has engaged patients, carers and a range of other key stakeholders in shaping the proposals so far.
Since April 2004, the Department has received one representation about the Mary Rose Birthing Centre, which was from the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South.
§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he h as given the Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust following the report to the Department of Health children taskforce from the maternity and neonatal workforce group on the proposal by the trust to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
The report to the Department's children's taskforce from the maternity and neonatal workforce group was made available on the Department's website in January 2003. The Department has not issued any guidance to trusts following the report.