HC Deb 01 December 1958 vol 596 cc825-6
23. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Health how long a new out-patients' department at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham has been under consideration; whether he has now authorised plans for a new building; and when the work will be put in hand.

Mr. R. Thompson

The preparation of plans for this scheme was first authorised in February, 1956. With regard to the later part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden) on 27th November.

Mr. Yates

The Minister must surely be aware that plans for this have been put forward for the last 20 years and that well over three years ago I asked Questions and was told that the matter was then under consideration? Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that this is one of the worst examples of the overcrowding of out-patients that can be found in this country and that it really is time that this hospital ceased to be a Cinderella?

Mr. Thompson

In January of this year the board was asked for additional information about various features of the scheme, and we are still awaiting the reply.

Dr. Summerskill

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that he has told the House that in one hospital in Birmingham there are over 1,000 people waiting for surgical operations; that he has followed that by telling the House that he is looking at plans for a new theatre; and also that the out-patient arrangements are being considered? Is he not aware that his attitude is very disturbing to those who listen to him, and instead of evading the Answers, will he tell us why there is this delay?

Mr. Thompson

There is no question of evading the Answer here. This is a complicated and costly scheme which we intend to get right at the planning stage.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the Minister aware that, with the exception of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the hospital accommodation in Birmingham, the second largest city in the United Kingdom, is a public disgrace? In response to the questions put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood (Mr. V. Yates), will he promise to go to Birmingham and see some of the conditions in which the consultants are working in the operating theatre—and the conditions in which outpatients are seen? He will be surprised by what he sees and will, I am sure, take some action when he sees the conditions Will he promise to go there?

Mr. Thompson

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that these matters are well known to my Department and that we are pressing on with this as urgently as we can.