asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the criteria currently used by his Department in approving the allocation of surgeons to hospitals below district general hospital level, including minimum conditions and facilities available.
Employment of consultant posts within a region is entirely a matter for the regional health authority concerned. My Department allocates new consultant posts to regions only in response to requests for such posts; the allocation is in the form of a total number of posts for the region as a whole. In allocating posts to regions, account is taken of the likely number of candidates available to fill such posts, and preference is shown to regions having the lowest level of staffing in the relevant speciality. In recent years, it has been possible to approve all requests for new consultant surgeon posts.