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Consultants (Contracts)

Volume 81: debated on Monday 17 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment he has made of the implications for the efficiency, the provision of services and financial control by district health authorities of the contractual relationship between consultants and regional health authorities; and if he will make a statement.

The decision to retain the contracts of National Health Service consultants (other than those in teaching districts) at regional level was made at the time of the 1982 reorganisation. The reasons for the policy were explained in the debate on 11 November 1981 at columns 634–8. We have no plans to alter these arrangements at present. We do expect regional authorities to protect the interests of districts and patient services in their handling of consultant contracts.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the terms of consultants' contracts within the National Health Service hospitals; if he is satisfied with the working of those contracts; and if he has had any recent discussions with consultants' representatives about their contracts or about the provision of private health care within National Health Service hospitals by consultants.

We have no plans to revise the basis of the consultants' contract. We are in regular contact with representatives of the medical profession on the detailed terms and conditions of service of all grades of medical staff. We intend to issue revised guidance on private health care in National Health Service hospitals shortly and we are having discussions with the profession on the subject.