HC Deb 07 May 1962 vol 659 cc28-9
29. Colonel Sir H. Harrison

asked the Minister of Health why, in his plan for hospitals, he is only providing for 2.9 acute beds per 1,000 population in the eastern region.

The Minister of Health (Mr. J. Enoch Powell)

The plan provides for 380 additional acute beds in the East Anglian region by 1975. In this and other regions proposals based on local needs and circumstances result in somewhat less than the normal maximum of 3.3 per 1,000.

Sir H. Harrison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in East Anglia we feel that, while we have been behind before, we are even more behind to the extent of 15 per cent. on the new plan? Did my right hon. Friend, in arriving at the plan, take into account the population, because those who need hospitals most are the young and the old, and in East Anglia the young and the old are above the average for the country whereas the middle group is below it? Surely our hospitals ought to be at a higher rate than they are?

Mr. Powell

The prospective composition of the population in 1975 was taken into account in drawing up the plan. I must remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the figure of 3.3 per thousand is a national maximum, and the fact that the provision in a particular area works out at somewhat less than that is no evidence that it is not sufficient in the circumstances of the region.

Mr. K. Robinson

In view of this Question and a number of other Questions which have appeared on the Order Paper, does not the right hon. Gentleman think it high time we debated the general principles of the Hospital Plan, and will he have a word with the Leader of the House to see whether he can arrange an early debate?

Sir H. Harrison

Will my right hon. Friend study some recent figures which have just come into my possession if I send them to him?

Mr. Powell

Yes, Sir; gladly.