A cross-party group of MPs has asked the government to establish a National Forum for Maternity Care to draw up a national maternity care strategy in the UK. Audrey

Wise, Labour MP for Preston, and a member of the health select committee which investigated maternity services in 1992, said the forum would identify good practice and attempt to remove variations in access to, and quality of, maternity care.

(Early Day Motion, 26 November)

Access to NHS audiology services is 'variable and inconsistent' across the UK, said Jenny Tonge, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park. Dr Tonge said waits for a hearing test ranged from three days to 78 weeks. Dr Tonge, who is deaf in one ear, called on ministers to set targets for the improvement of audiology services.

(Hansard, col 848, 2 December)

London's NHS would 'asset strip' staff, equipment and facilities from their 'country cousins' at the world-renowned heart and lung transplant centre at Harefield, Middlesex, if proposals to close the site went ahead, warned John Wilkinson, Conservative MP for Ruislip and Northwood. Mr Wilkinson is calling on ministers not to centralise services in the capital.

(Hansard, col 1017, 2 December)

The government should consider giving local councils a 'formal role' in the NHS consultative process, perhaps putting them on a par with community health councils', Slough Labour MP Fiona McTaggart told MPs in an adjournment debate on cuts in community services in Berkshire. She alleged that Berkshire health authority had 'demonstrated an absolute inability' to

tackle what she called a 'healthcare crisis' in Slough.

(Hansard, col 120, 7 December)