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Volume 174: debated on Thursday 14 June 1990

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To ask the Prime Minister whether she will take steps to ensure that departmental Ministers have sufficient staff to reply to hon. Members' lettes within an acceptable span of time; and whether it is in accordance with her policy that a letter to the Secretary of State for Health dated 27 February should be answered on 6 June.

Long delays in replying to correspondence from Members of Parliament can rarely be justified. The Department of Health has introduced major changes in the national health service which have generated a great deal of public interest. Revised procedures have now been implemented to help in dealing with the large increase in correspondence. My hon. Friend will recall that I announced on 29 March a review of the handling of correspondence across all Departments.