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Area Health Authorities

Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider splitting up large area health authorities like Lancashire Area Health Authority in advance of the report of the Royal Commission's findings on the National Health Service; and if he will ensure that Community Health Council members are appointed as members or observers on the district planning team.

Any general reorganisation of the National Health Service must await the outcome of the Royal Commission on the National Health Service. But in the meantime I would be prepared to consider proposals to change existing health boundaries—for example existing multi-district area into several smaller single-district areas, provided that I was satisfied that it would lead to more effective delivery of services and improved management efficiency, had been the subject of full and adequate consultation with all concerned including staff representatives, and had the approval of both area and regional health authorities.I encourage community health council membership of district planning teams wherever this approach is favoured by the CHC and area health authority concerned, but this is a matter best left for local decision. Some CHCs prefer to be consulted about health authorities' planning proposals rather than serve on planning teams.