holding answer 3 July 2001
I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding to this question. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend Mrs. Humble on 5 March 2002, Hansard, column 192W.
Following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the shifting the balance of power initiative in April 2001, 22 simultaneous public consultation exercises on the boundaries of the proposed new health authorities were conducted between 7 September 2001 and 30 November 2001. The names of the 28 new, larger and more strategic, health authorities in England were announced on 18 December 2001. The names of their chairs (designate) were announced by the Appointments Commission on 19 December 2001. The names of the chief executives (designate) were announced on 21 December 2001. The 28 new health authorities will be established on 1 April 2002, when the 95 existing health authorities will be abolished. Subject to progress with the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, the new health authorities are expected to be designated strategic health authorities and to be fully operational in their new roles from October 2002.