HC Deb 02 December 1957 vol 579 c27
37. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Sunderland Maternity Hospital is dangerously full; and whether he will make a statement about the provision of extra facilities in the Sunderland area.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Although I cannot accept the suggestion that the position is dangerous, I am aware of the needs of this area, and the regional hospital board has them in mind for action as soon as possible.

Mr. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is not just a question of the hospital itself being 100 per cent. full, but the danger of midwives drifting away, first, from the town, and secondly, from the profession? Ought not something to be done in regard to terms of pay and allowances, more particularly, in order to keep midwives in this profession?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The maternity part of the hospital is not 100 per cent. full; for the last two quarters the figure has been only 90 per cent. I agree that this hospital presents a local problem, but it is one primarily within the responsibility of the regional hospital board, which has to have regard to the priorities and needs of its whole area.