HC Deb 07 July 1958 vol 591 cc15-6
18. Mr. Moss

asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made since December, 1957, to provide the Coleshill Hall, Chelmsley and Weston Mental Hospital Group with a hostel for high-grade patients ready to return to normal life or handicapped by being orphans.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

The regional hospital board has considered three more properties without success. A fourth is under consideration.

Mr. Moss

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman recollect that he was kind enough to say on a previous occasion that he accepted in principle the provision of hostels, and is he aware that the opinion is growing that the regional board does not want to find one because of the delays in reaching decisions when opportunities arise? Can he write to the regional board to ask it to take up this as a matter of great urgency, because it would be tremendously useful to the hospital concerned?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I reiterate that I am in favour of the principle of providing this type of hostel in suitable places, and I am satisfied that that is also the policy of the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board. The board, in fact, is not guilty of any delay. Of the three properties to which I refer in my Answer, two were not approved for planning purposes by the local planning authority.

Dr. Summerskill

In view of the fact that it is well known that the Minister approves in principle of the provision of these particular institutions, can he say why there is an urgent need in other areas for them and why he does not apply more pressure?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I do not think I can answer that supplementary question within the bounds of order. It is a question about progress made in this particular locality.