HC Deb 04 February 1957 vol 564 cc3-5
18. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Health how many local authorities have applied during 1956 for permission to build health centres; the average estimated cost; and how many medical practitioner suites were to be made available.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. J. K. Vaughan-Morgan)

Four authorities applied for approval for schemes where building was ready to start. The average estimated building cost was £25,000 and a total of 15 medical practitioner suites was included. In the case of four other authorities, approval in principle was sought or consideration of proposals was continued during the year.

Dr. Stross

Would the Parliamentary Secretary and his right hon. Friend agree that it is important to press forward with all types of health centres so that we may find out which are the best? Will he accept that £25,000 seems a much more reasonable figure than the fantastic sum spent on Woodberry Down, which I hope we shall never see repeated?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I am sure that my right hon. Friend would be in agreement with the imputation in the last part of the question. We should do well to remember the approach of the Guillebaud Committee in this matter. It was in favour of pursuing an experimental approach towards development.

32. Mr. Proctor

asked the Minister of Health what areas are now provided with a health centre under the National Health Service; and what proposals he has for extending the health centres provisions of the National Health Service Act.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Eight new centres have been so provided. I am circulating a list in the OFFICIAL REPORT. In addition, premises were taken over in July, 1948, by six local authorities so that general medical or dental services could be continued there. Current restrictions on capital expenditure rule out further provision for the time being.

Mr. Proctor

Does the Minister realise that there is great interest in and demand for these centres? Will he make representations to have reviewed the decisions which are holding up this matter?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

As I said in reply to an earlier Question, these centres are still experimental and I think we should be cautious in our approach.

Following is the list:

New health centres provided since 5th July. 1948.

Berkshire County Council, Faringdon Health Centre.

Bristol County Borough, William Budd Health Centre, Knowle West.

London County Council, Woodberry Down Health Centre, Stoke Newington.

Nottingham County Borough, John Ryle Health Centre, Clifton Estate.

Essex County Council, Harold Hill, Romford Aveley, Thurrock.

Gloucestershire County Council, Hesters Way Estate, Cheltenham.

Sunderland County Borough, Alderman Jack Cohen Health Centre.