§ Mr. Ashton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what compensation he is offering to nurses at special hospitals for their loss of civil servant status;
(2) what consultations he has had with representatives of the Prison Officers Association concerning the recommendations of the Olliff report; when he next expects to meet them; and whether he will list the organisations with whom he has discussed the report;
(3) what is his policy regarding the future negotiations, with the Prison Officers Association on promotion procedures, uniforms, assisted travel, grievances, disciplinary procedure and security if the Olliff report is implemented; and whether the Prison Officers Association will still be able to negotiate locally at each special hospital;
(4) whether he will pay an official visit to Broadmoor, Rampton, Park Lane and Moss Side special hospitals to discuss the Olliff report with nurses who are members of the Prison Officers Association;
(5) whether it is his policy to act on the Olliff report recommendation that the influence of the Prison Officers192W
§ Mr. Freeman
The information on the total number of abortions performed in England and Wales to the requested ages could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the readily available data is shown in the table, which relates to abortions performed on usual residents of England and Wales. Information on the number of these which were performed under ground 5 of the Abortion Act cannot be released for reasons of maintaining confidentiality.
Association in special hospitals must be eroded and its assessment that attitudes within the special hospitals concentrate more on the secure control of patients than their treatment;
(6) why the future conditions of service and negotiations with the Prison Officers Association at special hospitals is being transferred to the Whitley council; what date he expects this transfer to be implemented; and whether legislation is required for this and for the transfer of direct responsibility for the admission of patients from the Secretary of State to the Special Hospitals health authority;
(7) why the Olliff report on the future of special hospitals was not distributed to the Prison Officers Association.
§ Mr. Freeman
[holding answer 26 May 1989]: The Government are setting up the Special Hospitals Service Authority (SHSA) to take over the management functions presently exercised by my Department and the three local hospital boards, which are to be abolished later this year. These changes were announced in a ministerial statement in May 1988. Later in 1988 the Government specified the following six main national objectives for the service:
- (i) to continue to ensure the protection of the public;
- (ii) to ensure the provision of appropriate treatment for patients;
- (iii) to provide a good quality of life for patients, and a good working environment for staff;
- (iv) to develop closer working relationships with local and regional psychiatric services;
- (v) to promote the hospitals as centres of excellence for the training of staff of all disciplines, in forensic and other branches of psychiatry;
- (vi) to promote research into forensic psychiatry, and related conditions.
The statements referred to are in the Library.
Statutory instruments have been laid before Parliament which will establish the SHSA from 1 July 1989, and render it fully operational from 1 October 1989. From that date the SHSA will assume all functions, including the admission of patients.
There has already been extensive discussion and consultation on these important changes with staff, management and unions. I have myself visited all the four special hospitals where I met a cross section of staff and patients. Department of Health officials have also been engaged in a programme of visits to all the hospitals where they have had wide ranging discussions with all groups of staff. We are producing full briefing packs to explain the rationale for and effects of the changes. These packs will be sent to all staff and patients before 1 October, when the SHSA becomes the new employing authority for all but administrative staff.194W
There have been exchanges with staff side interests, including the POA. Indeed, at a meeting with my officials on 18 May the General Secretary of the POA and his colleagues were assured that their members and other non-administrative staff will suffer no material loss through the removal of Civil Service status and will remain on existing NHS terms and conditions. As pay and superannuation will not be affected, the question of compensation does not arise. The POA was also assured that it will continue to be recognised as representing its members in the special hospitals locally (in the hospitals) and centrally (with the new special health authority) in the new arrangements.
It will be for the SHS authority to consider the appropriateness of existing staff procedures in the new arrangements, and in reviewing such procedures we would expect it to talk with the relevant staff interests, including the POA. The Olliff report was a confidential, internal working document about the future operations of the Department's HQ branch responsible for the special hospitals.