§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals he has for increasing the membership of those area health authorities which are expected to contain a large number of health districts.
§ Sir K. Joseph
I accept that the burden of work on area health authorities which contain a large number of health districts will call for an increase in the standard membership of 15 including the chairman. I therefore propose to increase the membership in areas with more than three districts by two, four and six members, where there are four, five or six districts respectively. These extra members would be appointed by the regional health authority after consultations, and with due regard to securing a balance of experience and a balance between the various parts of the area.
The number of health districts is still uncertain, but my proposal is likely to affect about 12 or 13 areas, of which the largest are Lancashire, Kent, Surrey, Essex and Cheshire.