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Flowers Report

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consideration he has given to the Flowers report on London medical schools in his examination of the pattern of health care in the London area.

The Flowers report was published this morning. I thank its members for the work that they have put into perparing this very valuable report. Its recommendations will be considered first by the university, since it set up the working party.

At the same time, the London Health Planning Consortium published its report today on the future pattern of acute hospital services in London. Copies of both reports are available in the Library of the House. The two reports together represent a fundamental examination of the organisation of hospital services and medical teaching in London. They make far-reaching proposals that will require careful consideration.

I thank the Minister for that reply. As he has said, considerable changes will be made in medical education and in the distribution of health services in London. Will the Minister give an undertaking that the House will have a full opportunity to debate all the proposals before he makes any decision to implement them?

I agree with the hon. Lady. The Royal Commission recommended that a further inquiry should be made into London. We do not agree. Sufficient inquiries have already been made about what is needed for London. We now need decisions and action. My right hon. Friend will shortly announce the setting-up of an advisory committee to look at the two reports and to recommend action.

As I have been put at risk by the report of the Flowers committee which was published this morning, will my hon. Friend understand if I do not share his enthusiasm for it.' Will he give an undertaking that he, or his right hon. Friend, will consult those members of the academic staff of medical schools who are involved in the delivery of health care, and who will be affected by the report, before any decisions are made?

I am sure that the whole House will sympathise with my hon. Friend. We shall certainly hold wide consultations. There will be full representation on the advisory group that we intend to set up. There will be not only representatives from the university, but from other relevant bodies in London.

Does the Minister agree that irrespective of the quality and content of the Flowers report and of the report of the London Health Planning Consortium, they cover narrow areas? Does he further agree that evidence was not collected with full publicity? Community services, general practitioners and inner city areas are involved. The reports do not pre-empt a public inquiry into the London health services. Will he, therefore, reconsider his decision?

The right hon. Gentleman should wait until he has read the two reports before making any further comments.