§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what consultations took place with(a) local women and their families, (b) other service users, (c) community representatives and (d) NHS organisations before the proposal to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre was taken; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will make it his policy to reconsider the proposal to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre at St. Mary's hospital in Portsmouth; and if he will make statement; 
(3) what assessment his Department has made of the proposal to close the community midwife-led maternity service unit at St. Mary's Hospital Portsmouth, and transfer the maternity service to Queen Alexandra hospital; what research has been conducted on the risks to expectant mothers; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what guidance he has given the Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust following the report to the Department of Health Children's Taskforce from the Maternity and Neonatal Workforce Group on the proposal by the Trust to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre; and if he will make a statement; 205W
(5) what representations he has received on the proposal to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre in Portsmouth. 
§ Dr. Ladyman
The future configuration of local maternity services in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire is currently under careful consideration as part of the wider restructuring of local acute services. There are no plans to close the Mary Rose Birthing Centre, but the local national health service is considering the possible relocation of the unit along with the main Consultant-led maternity service at St. Mary's hospital to the new Private Finance Initiative hospital on the Queen Alexandra site. During September and October 2003, the local NHS has a programme of engagement to discuss the proposals with local residents and community representatives.
The Department has received two representations about the future of the unit. I am aware that the hon. Member wrote to my right hon. Friend on 13 August about this issue. The Department has not issued any guidance to NHS trusts following the report from the Maternity and Neonatal Workforce Group to the Children's Taskforce.