HC Deb 12 June 1961 vol 642 cc16-7
24. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Health what improvements in the hospital service in north Staffordshire are at present being undertaken or planned.

Mr. Powell

A new casualty department and a new outpatient department at the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary and a new maternity unit at the City General Hospital, as well as a number of smaller schemes.

Mr. Swingler

In view of controversy in the recent past, can the Minister tell us whether the priorities for the improvement of the hospital service in North Staffordshire are now agreed between his Department and local representatives? Is proper account being taken of the fact that north Staffordshire has been worse off for a long time past in comparison with other areas of similar size?

Mr. Powell

The particulars I gave in my Answer are those of schemes which are actually in hand, which I thought was the object of the hon. Gentleman's Question. I am considering the long-term development programme, which has been submitted to me by the Birmingham Regional Board, in the light of circumstances in North Staffordshire.

Dr. Stross

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that from the long-term planning point of view great care should be taken to ensure that the priorities are correct? Some of us are a little uncertain as to whether enough time has yet elapsed strictly to formalise them.

Mr. Powell

Yes. I think that it will be some months before this study can be completed. One of the main purposes of such an operation is to try to get the priorities right over a considerable period.