§ 39. Mr. Ness Edwards
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that it is anticipated that within the next few months at least Boo tuberculosis patients in Wales will be waiting for hospital accommodation; and what steps he is taking to meet this position?
§ Mr. E. Brown
Yes, Sir. The figure quoted is, I understand, an estimate, but I am aware that there is at present a substantial shortage of beds for tuberculosis cases in Wales, as in other parts of the country. The problem is greatly accentuated by the present necessary restrictions on new building, and by the difficulty of providing hospital staff. With the help of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service, I am actively seeking a solution of this staff problem in order to make it possible to use a certain number of emergency hospital beds for tuberculosis cases.
§ Mr. Edwards
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that there are hundreds in South Wales not occupied at all? Will he press on with placing at the disposal of the civil authorities these beds, both in military institutions and emergency hospitals?
§ Dr. Edith Summerskill
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he and his predecessor have been actively seeking a solution of the problem for at least 15 years and still these cases are allowed to remain in homes where they are in contact with healthy people?