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11 May 2006 : Column 563W—continued

University Hospital of North Staffordshire

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish the review carried out by (a) Ernst and Young and (b) the Department's turnaround team into the forecast deficit of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire for the year ending 31 March 2006. [62899]

Andy Burnham: The Shropshire and Staffordshire strategic health authority (SHA) has advised me that Ernst and Young carried out a review of finances across the whole of the SHA, and following that they were retained by University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS trust to specifically look at the financial position there. I do not have copies of their review. Publication of the review is a matter for the SHA to consider.

The first stage of turnaround was a baseline assessment, the aim of which was to ensure there is an agreed understanding of the local financial problem
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and that actions are in hand to address this. The director of finance of the Department published the national assessment in a report on 25 January 2006.

Further work and planning is being done at a local level by the trust and SHA. Publication of these plans is a matter for them to consider.

Ward Closures

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the hospitals where ward closures are planned, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [68508]

Andy Burnham: The Department does not routinely collect and hold centrally operational management information on proposals to close wards or capacity.

This Government have given local authority overview and scrutiny committees the power to review and scrutinise health services from the perspective of their local populations. National health service bodies are under a duty to consult overview and scrutiny committees on any plans to make substantial variation to NHS services. Those committees have the powers to refer any proposal to the Secretary of State if they believe the plans are not in the interests of the health service.

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