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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2794W—continued

Ward/Bed Closures

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will list current proposals for ward closures and bed closures at NHS hospitals, including foundation hospitals, known to her Department; [11695]

(2) what assessment she has made of whether any proposals for ward or bed closures in NHS hospitals are the result of patients being treated under NHS contracts at private hospitals. [11696]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 12 July 2005]: Decisions on whether to close wards or beds are a matter for determination by local national health service organisations. The Department does not routinely collect this information and as such no assessment can be made of the reasons for any such closures locally.

For the first wave of independent sector procurement, additional activity over and above growth in the NHS was secured using the independent sector. In addition, some activity was transferred to the independent sector to free up capacity in NHS facilities. These decisions, and decisions on where to site independent sector treatment centres, were taken in full consultation with strategic health authorities.