asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on his Department's talks and discussions with Northumberland County Council, Blyth Borough Council and the various hospital boards concerned in future hospital developments in Blyth and the retention of the existing hospitals.
The consultations have been undertaken, as is normal practice, by the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board. I shall consider fully the representations and the board's recommendation before reaching a decision.
I thank the Minister tor that reply, but will he bear in mind the view expressed to him by the Blyth League of Hospital Friends which has done excellent work for the patients of Blyth hospitals and whose knowledge of local hospital needs surpasses that of the hospital boards, and also the views of the Beulah House Association which has fought to retain this hospital or to secure an alternative one?
I do not have the details in my mind to enable me to answer my hon. Friend's question. The regional hospital boards must carry out consultations before making proposals for any closure.