HC Deb 04 March 1963 vol 673 cc21-2
38. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Health why he sanctioned the expenditure of £50,000 on the rebuilding of Hurst-wood Park Hospital when he had already decided to move the centre concerned to Brighton in five years' time; what advice was given by the local medical staff; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Braine

This was for repairs to a building which will he used by the hospital after the centre is transferred; no advice was given.

Mr. Pavitt

Does the Joint Parliamentary Secretary mean that he spent £50,000 or permitted it to be spent without first seeking medical advice from the hospitals concerned? Is he aware that in recent months, this neurosurgical unit has on occasion been completely cut off and that surgeons have had to cancel their operating schedule because of lack of staff when nurses could not get to the unit because it was snowbound? Is it not a waste of the taxpayers' money to spend £50,000 in rebuilding this neurosurgical unit in a crash programme when the intention is that in five years' time, in any event, it must be moved to the Brighton General Hospital? Would it not have been more economical to have the crash programme at the Brighton General Hospital to start with and thus save £50,000?

Mr. Braine

The hon. Member would have been spared his supplementary question had he listened to my Answer, which was to the effect that the repairs had been to a building which is to be used after the centre has been transferred. It is true that there was a suggestion that instead of being repaired, the unit would he removed to Brighton General Hospital forthwith. This will not be practicable for some years until space can be made available there by the transfer of other work to the redeveloped Royal Sussex County Hospital. This is a matter which should be left to the judgment of the regional hospital board.