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Specialties

Volume 227: debated on Friday 2 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the cost to date of the specialty reviews.

The cost is estimated at £450,000. This includes the staff and related costs incurred by the six independent review groups and the London implementation group as well as the cost of printing the reports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she has made of the capital and revenue costs of implementing the specialty reviews;

  • (2) if she will make a statement of the impact of the specialty reviews at hospitals where a specialty is removed on the remaining services in those hospitals;
  • (3) what steps she is taking to test purchaser support and the feasibility and affordability of appropriate specialist service configurations resulting from the London specialty reviews.
  • The recommendations of the specialty reviews are independent advice to Ministers and the national health service. They are not policy and no decision to change services will be taken on the basis of their conclusions alone. The London implemenation group, the Thames regional health authorities, purchasers and the hospitals themselves will now make full assessments of the implications of the reviews' recommendations, prior to bringing forward proposals for change in the autumn. The London implementation group will ensure that any proposals to relocate or close a specialist service are informed by, amongst other factors, the views of purchasers, analysis of the cost implications and feasibility in terms of sites. There will, of course, be full public consultation on any major proposals to relocate services or to close sites.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what effect she expects the specialty reviews of the London hospitals to have on the South-East Thames region outside London.

    The specialty reviews make a number of recommendations about specialist services provided in South East Thames regional health authority that are outside London. These recommendations are independent advice to Ministers and the national health service, not policy, and they alone will not determine the future configuration of services in London or elsewhere. It will be the responsibility of the regional health authority, local purchasers and the hospitals themselves to make a full assessment of the reviews' advice and, if appropriate, to develop proposals for change.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the impact of the review of London specialist services on maintaining morale and retention of the staff needed for teaching if the hospitals provide a smaller range of technical specialities.

    The independent advice contained within the speciality review reports forms one ingredient in the local process of developing proposals for improving health services in London. As part of this process, the London implementation group is working closely with the university of London and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, to ensure that the implications of the reviews' recommendation for teaching and research are fully assessed.