HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc15-6
31. Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make arrangements whereby facilities for repair to hearing aids could be available at Maidenhead Hospital on certain days in the month in order to avoid the inconvenience at present caused to deaf persons who are obliged to travel from the Maidenhead and Cookham area to Windsor Hospital for this purpose.

Mr. R. Thompson

The North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board is considering whether arrangements can be made to improve facilities for hearing aid repairs in this area.

Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe

While that reply is satisfactory so far as it goes, is my hon. Friend aware that as most deaf people are old it seems a little absurd that they should have to go all the way by bus to Windsor to get hearing aids repaired when there is a perfectly good and very efficiently run hospital on their doorstep in Maidenhead?

Mr. Thompson

I can well understand my hon. Friend's anxiety. Our difficulty here is to balance the policy of having relatively few fully-staffed and properly equipped centres functioning all the time with the policy of dispersion, which means having less adequately staffed centres, less often open though admittedly more widely dispersed; and in between these two poles we are trying to find an acceptable solution.

Dr. Summerskill

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the service for which his hon. Friend asks exists in many parts of the country and that it is desirable that it should extend to all areas? Although the Parliamentary Secretary says that there is a difficulty, I think that if he made representations to all regional hospital boards, including the Liverpool one—which would cover Warrington—those who are suffering in this way would be very grateful to the Ministry.

Mr. Thompson

I accept the right hon. Lady's natural interest in the Liverpool Board, but, to reply specifically to my hon. Friend's point, the North West Metropolitan Regional Board tells me that the Windsor Group Hospital Management Committee is at the moment considering whether something can be done about repairs.