HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1740-1
17. Mr. Grey

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that patients urgently requiring surgical treatment have such treatment delayed for several months due to lack of beds in the hospitals, while on the other hand patients with means are able to enter private wards without delay; and what steps he intends to take to end this state of affairs.

Mr. Marquand

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of any cases known to him where admission was surgically urgent and was refused because the patient could not pay, I shall be only too glad to look into them.

Mr. Grey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I know of a case where a man had to wait 10 months before he got a bed? As there must be a considerable number of such cases in the country, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the whole principle of private beds should be reviewed?

Mr. Marquand

My hon. Friend put to me two questions. First, I am not aware of the case he mentioned, but I would be glad to look into it; second, a certain number of private beds were provided in the Health Service and I am not, as at present advised, prepared to alter that situation.

Mr. Keenan

Is the Minister aware that the reservation of private beds is causing a great deal of trouble and that my hon. Friend the Member tor the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Mrs. Braddock) reported to his predecessor a case where the Royal Infirmary had 45 beds available but refused a patient a bed one night in January?

Mr. Marquand

I hope my hon. Friends will do all they can to assure their constituents that, where there are cases urgently requiring admission, they should be admitted, and that there is nothing to prevent it.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Is it not a fact that the law provides that these pay beds are only to be made available if they are not required for urgent cases?

Mr. Marquand indicated assent.

Mrs. Braddock

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is the general practice in the teaching hospitals deliberately to keep beds empty and to refuse to admit cases which require attention?

Mr. Marquand

I should like notice of that question.