HC Deb 08 December 1958 vol 597 cc9-10
5. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health if he considered the suggestions for the modernisation of the hospitals and services made to him during his visit to the City of Stoke-on-Trent; and what action has been taken or is to be taken.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The planning of capital developments in the hospitals in Stoke-on-Trent is a matter for the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board. The following schemes are in hand or under consideration: a twin operating theatre suite, an accident and casualty unit, a new out-patient department, an antenatal unit, and a new maternity block.

Mr. Smith

I accept the answer, but will the Minister use his responsibility and influence to see that the new out-patient department, which we understand will be one of the most modern, is sited between the two hospitals? Has he considered the need for complete integration of the hospitals and for the centralisation of departments?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The out-patient department is designed to serve both the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary and the City General Hospital, and is, I think, a practical example of co-ordination. I am sure that the board will bear in mind the views expressed generally by the hon. Gentleman.

Mrs. Slater

Is the Minister satisfied that the siting is correct? In view of the closeness of the hospitals and the urgent need to make them one big unit, should not the question of siting be carefully examined? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman look at this matter again, not only from the point of view of the need for an out-patient department, but the necessity for co-ordinating the work of these hospitals?

Mr. Walker-Smith

These matters of siting are often difficult and must be looked at in the light of all the practical considerations involved. As the hon. Lady will know, in the first place this is a matter for the board to consider in conjunction with the hospital management committee and the hospitals concerned.