§ 19. Mr. Tomney
asked the Minister of Health why the Board of Governors of St. Mary's Teaching Hospital Group, Paddington, decided to convert the Children's Hospital to adult use.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
I understand that the principal reason is that the board considers that there is a surplus of staffed children's beds and not enough adult beds in the hospitals in this group.
§ Mr. Tomney
Does not the Minister realise that this will mean that the specialised assistance necessary for children will now be more widely dispersed; and as Paddington, Kensington and Hammersmith are densely populated areas with a large number of children, will not he see whether the decision can be reversed?
§ Mr. Macleod
The decision has not yet been taken; indeed, it is quite a long way in front. These are proposals put forward because the board consider that on the whole the need for children's beds has diminished, which, as a general proposition, is a true one, I am happy to say. We should beware of trying to freeze the pattern of hospital provision as it happened to be in 1948 when the scheme came in. There may well be very good reasons for a change of use, but I emphasise that no final decision in this matter has been taken.