HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc9-10
14. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Health what further consideration he has given to making a special capital grant for rebuilding the maternity department at the North Middlesex Hospital.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The regional hospital board last year placed this fifth in order of priority among the projects it suggested for inclusion in the centrally financed programme of major schemes, and I did not find it possible to include it among those selected for planning. I will, however, consider it further when next deciding what additions may be made to that programme.

Mr. Albu

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I had a letter only last week from the chairman of the hospital management committee informing me that the temperature in these 1918 Army huts which are still being used as maternity wards was over 90 degrees? In view of the very extensive cost of rebuilding these wards, does he not think that a special capital grant is really due to this regional board?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Oh, no, Sir. I should get into a great deal of trouble with other hon. Members representing other regions if I succumbed to the temptation to comply with that invitation. The fact is that the North-East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board has had a very fair share of capital for centrally financed projects and within that region the North Middlesex Hospital has had a very fair share.

Dr. Summerskill

Cannot the right hon. and learned Gentleman promise to give special consideration to this case? May I emphasise my hon. Friend's point? Having served in this hospital for a number of years in the past I recall these huts. The hospital serves one of the most congested parts of Outer London. Therefore, I would ask him, for medical and social reasons, to give this hospital very special consideration.

Mr. Ellis Smith

There is one in Stoke, too.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I also know the North Middlesex and Stoke Hospitals. It is a fact that this hospital fairly recently had a new casualty department and it has a new out-patients department nearing completion. I am sure that the Board will see that proper treatment is given to the claim for the provision of a maternity department.