To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services when the Riverside district health authority issued the consultation document concerning the closure of the Westminster, the Westminster children's, St. Mary Abbots, and the West London hospitals; and what is the normal length of a consultation period for proposals of this nature.
I understand that the consultation document issued by Riverside health authority on the "Westminster and Chelsea Hospital Project" was issued to the Riverside community health council on 1 February 1988, and to other bodies listed on its formal distribution list in the week up to 9 February. Comments were requested by 1 May 1988.Health authorities are required by the NHS (Community Health Council) Regulations 1973 to consult community health councils about proposed service change; the regulations do not specify a time limit. We also expect authorities to consult other interested bodies and the arrangements for this are set out in circular EISC(1S) 207. We recommend there that health authorities should require comments "within a period of three months".