To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason his Department has send replies to letters from Honorable Members from civil servants; and whether those letters were been seen by a Minister in his department before they are issued.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
5 June 2020
The Department is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with approximately 22,000 cases received since the beginning of March, a threefold increase in cases compared to the same period last year.
The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by Members are prioritised and has taken steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.
All lines used to respond to correspondence are provided by the Department’s policy teams and the Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiry unit has daily contact with Ministers’ private offices. As a temporary measure, officials are sending replies with commonly used lines in line with Cabinet Office guidance.