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Patients' Charter

Volume 961: debated on Tuesday 30 January 1979

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42.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in drawing up a patients' charter.

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in drawing up a patients' charter.

I have had discussions with the leaders of the main NHS unions and professions on the possibility of some form of code of practice to govern industrial action in the Health Service. It has not so far been possible to achieve agreement on detailed national procedures or guidelines that would be generally suitable in local circumstances. It is not merely the wide variety of the treatment situations and the varying degrees of dependence of the patient; there is the wide range of NHS staff who contribute in one way or another to treatment and care and industrial action may, therefore, take a wide variety of forms. I have decided that the arrangements for maintaining emergency or minimum services must be determined locally and, at my request, health authorities are discussing these with local representatives of the unions. Any difficulties that cannot be settled locally will be taken up urgently by the health Departments with the unions concerned at national level.