HC Deb 04 March 1963 vol 673 cc22-3
39. Mr. W. T. Rodgers

asked the Minister of Health whether he will advance the date for the beginning of construction work for the new Tees-side hospital, which is to be built on a site at Stockton-on-Tees, in view of the need for improved hospital facilities locally as part of the overall improvement of essential services in the North-East.

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

No, Sir. At least two years' preparatory work is required before building can start.

Mr. Rodgers

Does the Minister realise how important this hospital is to Tees-side? Will he tell the House why this preparatory work was not put in hand sooner and assure us that if it can be in any sense speeded up, finance will not be a problem in improving this aspect of the services and amenities of Tees-side and the North-East?

Mr. Powell

I realise the importance of this hospital, which is being taken in the programme with as high a priority as other equally or more important projects in the region permit. It is not finance which is the limiting factor, but the amount of preparatory work which has to be done.