§ Mr. Greenway
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of anaesthetic services(a) in the Scarborough accident and emergency Yorkshire NHS Trust area and (b) in the Yorkshire and north-east area as a whole. 
§ Ms Blears
Clinical governance was introduced into the national health service for the first time in 1999. This is underpinned by a statutory duty of quality on NHS trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities in the Health Act 1999, which requires them to put and keep in place arrangements for monitoring and improving the quality of health care they provide.
In the case of the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, difficulties were identified in the provision of services for general anaesthetics across the trust due to a shortage of consultant anaesthetists. In order to ensure adequate cover, the trust decided to restrict operations that require general anaesthetics to three sites and as Malton Community Hospital was the site with the lowest general anaesthetic activity, general anaesthetic services at Malton will cease with effect from 1 April 2002. From that date patients will either have their operations under a local anaesthetic, where appropriate, in Malton or be treated under a general anaesthetic at one of the trust's other sites at Scarborough, Bridlington or Whitby.