HC Deb 17 November 1958 vol 595 cc838-9
48. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the feeling that exists among parents and others against the proposal to close Queen Mary's Hospital for Sick Children, Carshalton; and whether he will reconsider the matter.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I have received representations from several sources about the proposal to change the use of this hospital, and I will certainly take these and all relevant factors into account before coming to a decision.

Mr. Fletcher

I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that statement. Will he bear in mind that for many years this hospital has enjoyed a deservedly high reputation among parents for its specialised work in dealing with child patients, and that there would be great concern if it were closed and children sent in future to general hospitals?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I must make it clear that there is no proposal to close Queen Mary's Hospital, as might appear from the hon. Member's Question. The proposal is concerned merely with a change of use. I accept what the hon. Gentleman says about the high repute of this hospital, but at present it is nearly half-empty because of the very welcome fall in the need for accommodation for children.

Dr. Summerskill

In view of the misunderstanding in some quarters about this hospital, does not the Minister think it desirable to make public the fact that there has been a striking decrease in the demand for pediatric accommodation?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes. The right hon. Lady is aware that we seek to publicise this striking and welcome fall in the demand for pediatric accommodation, which is insufficiently realised by the public, and I hope that what she has now said will assist to that end.

Mr. K. Robinson

In considering this matter, will the Minister also not forget the desperate need of Fountain Hospital, which also has a high reputation, for decent, modern, permanent accommodation?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I have that very much in mind.