HC Deb 30 July 1953 vol 518 cc1509-10
6. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the need for a further 120 beds in the Southmead Hospital Group; that the cases to be dealt with are growing beyond the capacities of the hospitals; that the number of cases on the surgical waiting lists are increasing; that some of the buildings are old and need replacing; that the committee is unable to carry out its plans for development because of the lack of finance; and what steps he is taking to secure an increase in the grants to prevent any impairing of the efficiency of these hospitals.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I agree that some additional beds are needed to serve the City of Bristol, but not necessarily at hospitals in the Southmead Group. The Regional Hospital Board are providing more surgical beds at Frenchay Hospital and are improving the operating facilities at Southmead. Other improvements will be made as resources permit.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware of the deep frustration of people who are interested in hospital administration in the Bristol area, particularly in connection with capital expenditure? The amount that has been allocated in Bristol this year is so small that it will take seven years to catch up with what is now required, leaving out of account the accumulation of needs during the seven years. Can the right hon. Gentleman increase the amount and do it as quickly as possible?

Mr. Macleod

On the question of Southmead, I should have thought that the first need there was for an operating theatre, which is being provided, and the second was probably for out-patient facilities, which will come next. The capital allocation for this region is being increased by £30,000 for next year, apart from the share they may have of the £2 million for large schemes.

Mr. Wilkins

Is the Minister not aware that his reply will cause bewilderment in the City of Bristol? There has been a huge expansion of house building in this area. Nearly half the population of Bristol is now centred around this hospital group and we believe that the minimum requirement there is at least a block of four new wards.

Mr. Macleod

I have conceded that there is a need for additional beds to serve the City of Bristol, and I would give the same answer in respect of many other cities. The only point is that I am not tying myself by stating exactly in which hospital in Bristol they should be provided.