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Departmental Correspondence

Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will forthwith review the administration and related deficiencies at Alexander Fleming House and elsewhere which have resulted in the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge receiving a ministerial reply dated 22nd November to a submission on behalf of a National Health Service constituency patient made in a letter of 12th September.

My Department is conscious of the need to deal with correspondence as quickly as possible and an interim reply is sent when detailed inquiries are needed which may delay the final reply. In this particular case, my office wrote to the hon. Member on 6th and 25th October telling him that our inquiries were continuing. Inquiries took longer than usual because they were first directed to the area health authority, in which the hon. Member's constituent resided, and it was subsequently found that he had attended a hospital in another area. This inevitably caused delay.I am always ready to look into an hon. Member's complaints and problems, but I should like to take this opportunity to remind parliamentary colleagues that a considerable amount of time can often be saved if an approach is made direct to the authority concerned.