HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc566-7
84. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Health what is the present approximate capacity of all hospitals in Great Britain, including and excluding mental hospitals; and whether it is proposed to take any steps to increase this capacity in connection with the emergency arrangements, or in connection with the schemes for erecting camps?

Mr. Elliot

The number of hospital beds in England and Wales is approximately 502,000, including mental hospitals, or 371,500 excluding those hospitals. Of the latter figure some 120,000 beds can be freed for use by casualties in an emergency, and sufficient new beds have been obtained or are on order to increase the capacity by 80,000. A further 100,000 beds could be accommodated in existing hospitals if necessary and plans for new hospital units are under consideration. The 50 camps at present proposed are primarily to supplement billeting accommodation in an emergency, not hospital accommodation. As to the Scottish figures, I must refer my hon. Friend to the Secretary of State.