§ 24. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made in establishing a plastic unit in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in view of the need for treatment of burns and other industrial accidents in the district.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
The plastic surgeons in Newcastle have the use of a considerable number of beds in three hospitals in the city, and pending the provision of a regional plastic surgery centre there, the department of 36 beds has been maintained at Shotley Bridge.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that this is probably the only region in the country where there is not a properly-equipped unit? Although there are beds available they are scattered all over the place and are highly inefficient to run. This is about the only really heavy industrial area that has no properly equipped unit. Will the right hon. Gentleman give priority to the consideration of this new project?
§ Mr. Macleod
I do not think it is for me to give that sort of priority. It is a matter fundamentally for the board. 201 There have been considerable improvements in recent years in plastic surgery, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows, and in the number of surgeons provided in the Newcastle area. I am sure that the board will note what the hon. Gentleman says.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that within their very small capital allocation it is quite impossible for the board to tackle this problem? I am asking whether the right hon. Gentleman will take this matter up with the Chancellor to ensure that some capital is available to do this most vital economic job?