HC Deb 13 February 1967 vol 741 cc77-8
48. Mr. Gurden

asked the Minister of Health if he is satisfied that there are adequate stocks of essential drugs and sterile solutions for operations to be undertaken without inconvenience or delay in Birmingham; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Snow

There is no shortage except of certain intravenous injection solutions. Steps have been taken to ensure that urgent operations will not be delayed.

Mr. Gurden

May I help the hon. Gentleman, in view of the lack of knowledge he displayed in answering Question No. 47 earlier? This firm, Cuxson Gerrard and Co., Ltd.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Question."]—I said, may I help the hon. Gentleman? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] This firm Cuxson Gerrard and Co., Ltd. are manufacturers of these fluids, and the hon. Gentleman admitted to the shortage of one-third of pharmacists in Birmingham, and therefore the position is getting worse. Can he now tell us what is to be done to meet this situation?

Mr. Snow

That clears up one mystery. I tried tactfully to deal with the point on the earlier Question, perhaps a little anticipatorily. The fact is that production difficulties have reduced supplies of saline, dextrose 5 per cent. and dextrosesaline solutions from commercial sources. They were at one point caused by a slight sterilisation problem. The hospital authorities in Birmingham are taking energetic steps to economise on existing sources, and rationalisation arrangements have been made by hospital management committees.