HC Deb 13 July 1959 vol 609 cc7-8
9. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied with the sterilisation equipment in use in hospitals; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a memorandum I addressed to hospital authorities in April last. I have asked all hospital authorities to review their sterilising arrangements in the light of the Report enclosed with this memorandum.

Mr. Williams

While thanking my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply, may I draw his attention to the fact that there are many sterilisation rooms which are small, dusty and dirty, and that the safety margin is far too low in many of these cases? Will he not agree that by a certain amount of capital expenditure on this we may effect a long-term saving on expenditure on equipment and obtain better use of nurses' time?

Mr. Walker-Smith

I will certainly have that point in mind. Of course, the allocations for the current financial year, as my hon. Friend knows, are already made. I would remind him that, as I told the House in February last, I asked the hospital authorities to bear in mind the earlier report of the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust on this matter in their financial arrangements for this year.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman give us an assurance that in any new hospital buildings as well as in any alterations this whole question of sterilisation will be borne in mind, since, as he will appreciate, this affects the layout of hospital wards in the future?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Clearly, it has an important place in the planning and design of hospitals which we have in mind.