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Health Services

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from the Down community about the proposals in the report by the Eastern Health and Social Services Board's joint review team, "Developing Hospital Services"; and if he will make a statement.

Some 1,260 individuals and organisations have expressed disagreement with those recommendations relating to the Down district.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will make a statement on current hospital provision in the Down district;(2) if he will make a statement outlining all the options for future hospital provision in the Down district.

The Eastern Health and Social Services Board is seeking to establish a pattern of hospital provision which will meet the needs of the people of its area now and in the years ahead and to this end it is considering the development of hospital services throughout its area including the Down district.

It would he inappropriate for me to comment further as this could inhibit the development of other options which may emerge in the course of the consultation that the board is undertaking.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on health service efficiency in Northern Ireland.

Government in co-operation with the health and social services boards has been making consistent efforts in recent years to achieve greater efficiency in the use of resources. The boards have implemented efficiency savings over the last two years which have resulted in annual savings of around 0ยท5 per cent. of recurrent expenditure. These savings have been reinvested by boards in priority service areas.In addition each board has now appointed a general manager who will be directly responsible for improving management performance. Government, too, will continue to be involved in the process of monitoring and improving efficiency through the use of economic and statistical analysis and through discussions with boards as part of the accountability review system.The Department will also be assisting boards in a programme of specific efficiency scrutinies of aspects of the health and personal social services.As a result of these initiatives significant improvements in management performance are being achieved but there is no room for complacency and I will continue to press boards to examine services rigorously to ensure maximum value for money.