§ 42 Mr. Ronald Bell
asked the Minister of Health (1) how many appointments of anaesthetist registrars exist in respect of Iver Cottage Hospital, Buckinghamshire; what remuneration has been paid in respect of them since 1st January, 1956; and on how many occasions the services of the persons holding these appointments have been called upon;
(2) what was the cost of converting part of Iver Cottage Hospital, Buckinghamshire, into a children's hospital; when this was done; and how many children have since been admitted;
(3) whether he will arrange for the Iver Cottage Hospital, Buckinghamshire, to be restored to use as a local hospital, and preferably as a maternity hospital.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Richard Thompson)
One general practitioner attends twice weekly as part-time anaesthetics registrar and for other duties, his remuneration for anaesthetics being inseparable from that for his other work. In 1952, £1,158 was spent on part of the building intended to be used for children, of whom twenty-one have been admitted. The regional hospital board has reluctantly reached the conclusion that the difficulties of staff recruitment prevent the further use of the building as a hospital, and it is consulting local interests about its closure. Its intention is that it should be adapted as a preliminary training school for nurses for the hospital group.
§ Mr. Bell
May. I say that the adaptation of this place for use as a children's hospital occurred in 1952 and that 21 children have since been admitted. If 26 that is the correct date, does not my hon. Friend think that it would be a good idea to try to use the building for the purpose for which it was designed rather than to spend more money on adapting it for yet another use? Will he also bear in mind that this hospital was built as a local hospital, with money collected locally, before the hospitals were nationalised under the Health Act?
§ Mr. Thompson
Yes, Sir, but my hon. Friend should not conclude that because the admission of children has been disappointing the hospital has not been in use. There has been a considerable outpatient admission, although the last inpatient was admitted in June, 1957. The Board has been trying to recruit more staff, which is the basis of its difficulties, in consultation with the parish council and with the co-operation of the local Press. The Board was very reluctant to close the hospital while any hope of success remained.