asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether powers exist to provide for membership of area health authorities or for observers to be present at meetings of area health authorities to represent directly populations in major overlap areas;(2) in what circumstances area health authorities have power to co-opt members.
Under Regulation 12 of the National Health Service (Regional and Area Health Authorities: Membership and Procedure) Regulations 1973 (SI 1973 No. 1286), area health authorities may establish committees or subcommittees with co-opted members for performing duties, including visiting, under the Mental Health Act 1959. Each community health council is entitled to send one of its members to meetings of the area health authority to act as an observer, with the right to speak during meetings but not to vote. In cases where health boundaries overlap the responsible health authorities can liaise with the community health council representing the population in these areas.If the hon. Member is aware of a local or particular difficulty, perhaps he will write to me.