§ 15. Mr. Jopling
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the need to establish more geriatric beds in South Westmorland, particularly in view of the number of people who have to be accommodated outside the area; and what consideration he has given to using the Ethel Hedley Hospital at Windermere for this purpose.
§ Mr. Snow
The majority of geriatric patients from South Westmorland are treated at Kendal Green Hospital and others at Lancaster Moor Hospital, both within the area served by the North Lancashire and South Westmorland Hospital Management Committee. The future of the Ethel Hedley Hospital is under consideration by the Manchester Regional Hospital Board whose proposals my right hon. Friend expects to receive soon.
§ Mr. Jopling
Would the hon. Gentleman recognise that it would be a great shame if the use of the Ethel Hedley Hospital has to change and it should be closed down? First, would he give an undertaking that it will be kept on, and, secondly, does he realise that it would be of the greatest convenience for any of the patients who have to go outside the area to go to that hospital?
§ Mr. Snow
I should explain perhaps that accommodation provided by the H.M.C. is for the area as a whole rather than on a limited county basis. Also, a small addition of beds is shortly to be made at Kendal Green Hospital. But I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the assurance for which he asks. This is a matter which first comes within the discretion of the regional hospital board, but it can be counted on to ensure an adequate provision of this type of bed.