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Health Authorities

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish guidance to health authorities regarding their functions in the National Health Service, with a view to avoiding an overlap between regions and areas in decision taking.

Specific guidance on the exercise of functions by regional and area health authorities was given at the time of reorganisation, and this has been supplemented by detailed guidance on specific points and by statutory directions. I am not satisfied that further general guidance would be useful. I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about the dangers of overlap, which was increased by the NHS structure introduced by the previous Government. The situation is kept under review with a view to improvement, and I have asked for further progress reports later this summer. The review of management costs provides an additional incentive to authorities to eliminate waste and duplication.