§ 22. Mr. Denis Howell
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the governors of the United Teaching Hospitals have decided to reduce the number of confinement cases at the Birmingham Maternity Hospital by 500 a year; what consultations took place with the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board before this decision was taken; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Howell
Is the hon. Lady aware that that is a very disquieting reply? One of the very great difficulties in the hospital service, particularly in the Birmingham area, is the complete lack of liaison between the governors of teaching hospitals and the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board and the hospital management committees? Does she not think that to take this action unilaterally, whether it be 300 or 500—some of us were told in the first place that it was to be 500—is an act of social irresponsibility? Will the Minister take some steps to get greater co-ordination in these matters?
§ Miss Pitt
No. I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman that this is an act of social irresponsibility. It was because the board of governors feels responsible for this maternity hospital—which, as the hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do, takes the difficult cases—and in order to allow it to cater for emergencies that it felt it necessary to take this step.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
Does not the hon. Lady appreciate that it is quite impossible for a regional hospital board to carry out its planning responsibilities unless there is the closest possible liaison with boards of governors? Is she aware that this liaison is certainly nonexistent in the Birmingham region referred to by my hon. Friend?