HC Deb 27 November 1961 vol 650 cc27-8
39. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the numbers of plans for new or reconstructed children's wards in hospital which have received his approval during the last two years or are now under consideration; and what proportion of them have included provision for the accommodation of mothers with children under five years of age.

Mr. Powell

Seventy-five schemes for 131 new or reconstructed wards have been approved and 27 schemes for 44 wards are under consideration. Forty-four schemes make specific provision for mothers of children under five.

Mr. Albu

What steps has the right hon. Gentleman taken to ensure that in all future plans such provision is made, and what action has he taken, when approving the plans for those hospitals which did not make such provision, to try to get them to change their plans?

Mr. Powell

This provision will not be required in every case, because some of these wards are not specifically for the youngest children. Indeed, I consider this proportion quite reasonable.

Mr. K. Robinson

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the response to this recommendation of the Platt Report has been disappointing? Can he not at least tell hospital authorities that he will not approve schemes involving wards for younger children where no provision is made for a certain number of mothers to attend as well?

Mr. Powell

I do not think that there can be an absolute rule on this matter. If the hon. Gentleman studies the figures, I think he will see that considerable provision is being made in the current proposals.