HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc44-5
34. Mr. Frederic Harris

asked the Minister of Health what is the present estimated shortage of maternity beds within the Croydon area; and what action he is proposing to take to remedy the situation.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Julian Snow)

There is a marginal shortage, but teaching hospitals and hospitals of other groups also provide a service for this area.

Mr. Harris

Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that the shortage is very real and most distressing and disturbing, particularly to young wives who should have their first baby in hospital? It is extremely worrying to them to know that they cannot do so, and it makes an absolute nonsense of the National Health Service if these young wives are not able to have their first baby in hospital.

Mr. Snow

The hon. Gentleman's information is not, perhaps, quite right. The Cranbrook Report recommendation was that we should aim towards a 70 per cent. figure of births in hospitals. The position for the hon. Gentleman's area last year was 72.4 per cent.

Mr. Winnick

Can the Parliamentary Secretary tell us for what period of time there has been a shortage of beds in the Croydon area? May I ask him to look into this position, because it affects all constituencies in the Croydon area?

Mr. Snow

My hon. Friend is right to look at this problem objectively. As I have said, we have no information that there is anything other than a marginal shortage, which is adequately covered by teaching hospitals and other hospitals in other groups.

Mr. Harris

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.