HC Deb 23 November 1964 vol 702 cc890-1
17. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister of Health if he will undertake a review of the hospital building programme for the next 10 years.

Mr. Robinson

A review of the programme has already started. I shall shortly be making a full statement about this.

Mrs. Short

Did my right hon. Friend read the election manifesto of the Opposition during the recent election when it claimed to be able to build 300 new hospitals?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Dr. Horace King)

Order. I ask the hon. Lady to put her supplementary question briefly.

Mrs. Short

Is my right hon. Friend seized of the importance of building new hospitals at a far greater rate than hitherto experienced? Will he undertake that those hospitals that have been cut out of the building programme by his predecessor—some of which are urgently needed in many parts of the country—will be included again in the building programme?

Mr. Robinson

Despite my hon. Friend's attractive invitation, I must ask her to await the full statement I shall make shortly.

Mr. Emery

Will the right hon. Gentleman's review also deal with teaching hospitals? There is great need for a decision to be made on that aspect as quickly as possible so that the development of our new teaching hospitals can go forward?

Mr. Robinson

The review will include the development programmes of existing teaching hospitals. The question of new teaching hospitals is another matter that I am discussing in connection with medical schools, for which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible.

Lord Balniel

What steps will the right hon. Gentleman take to tie in the hospital review with the health and welfare services review, since home care for elderly people and the building of hospitals for the mentally handicapped will affect the scale of the building programme? Will the review be tied in at local level, or by the Ministry, or not at all?

Mr. Robinson

It will certainly be tied in. I entirely agree that a full review of the programme must take into account the programmes of local health and welfare authorities, and this will be done.