asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now set up an independent inquiry into the proposed development of a new regional department at the Christie Hospital, Manchester, for the treatment of children with cancer; and if he will make a statement.
As my hon. Friend knows, I visited the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital on 8th September and the Christie Hospital on 26th September. In view of the representations of my right hon. and hon. Friends and hon. Members, I have concluded that I should seek independent advice on the matter. I have asked the North-Western regional authority to suspend further work meanwhile on setting up the unit at the Christie Hospital. I regret the length of time it has taken to announce this decision, but there have been problems in connection with the independent advice which have been difficult to resolve. I shall announce further details as soon as possible.