HC Deb 10 March 1958 vol 584 cc10-1
38. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Health how many patients are awaiting admission to the Birmingham General and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals, respectively; how long the present waiting period is; and what steps are being taken to increase accommodation.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am informed that at 31st December last the numbers waiting at the General Hospital were 979 and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 1,888. The waiting time varies according to the department and the needs of the individual patient. Extra beds are to be provided at Jaffray Hospital for post-operative patients and developments are contemplated at non-teaching hospitals.

Mr. Yates

Is the Minister aware that there have been a number of cases of patients who have had to suffer considerable pain for several weeks before being admitted to either of these hospitals? Would he examine whether or not the priority for patients is working satisfactorily as compared with other hospitals, because these waiting lists are very long and there are many people who are urgently in need of treatment?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am willing to examine anything the hon. Gentleman asks me to examine, but I would point out that the waiting lists for the two hospitals, taken together, have been reduced in the last four years by no less than 31½ per cent.

Dr. Summerskill

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say which departments of these hospitals have the longest waiting lists? Where is the greatest pressure?

Mr. Walker-Smith

The longest average waiting time at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is, first, for ear, nose and throat, and, secondly, for neuro surgery. The longest waiting time at the other hospital is for general surgery.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Would not the situation be very much better today as regards hospital accommodation if the Socialist Government had completed one single hospital during their long term of office?