Commissioners should ensure that current and future reconfigurations demonstrate evidence of compliance with the four criteria that I announced in May. That should be a rigorous process, involving GPs and other local clinicians, local authorities, patients and the public, as set out in guidance. For current schemes, the local assessment should be concluded by 31 October this year.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is breaching his guidelines by transferring a children’s ward from Burnley to Blackburn without the approval of local GPs and the local council or the support of the local population? Will he please intervene?
My hon. Friend and I have had a conversation in Burnley about emergency and children’s services at Burnley hospital. I was not aware of the position that he has just described, but I will ensure that any reconfigurations that have taken place in the past and are still being reviewed, or that are currently being proposed or acted on, comply with the criteria that I set out in May, and I will write to him.