HC Deb 11 May 1970 vol 801 cc799-800
7. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hospitals at present in use in the National Health Service include buildings or parts of buildings constructed in or before the 18th century.

Dr. John Dunwoody

This information is not available centrally.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that an important hospital in Sheffield, or a section of it, was in danger of collapse because some of its timbers dated back to 1790-odd? Are there standing instructions to hospital management committees or regional hospital boards about the inspection of the physical state of the hospitals under their control?

Dr. Dunwoody

I know of this episode in Sheffield, involving the Sheffield Royal Infirmary. The inspection of buildings and other property of management committees and regional hospital boards is done as part and parcel of the general maintenance programme. I doubt whether there is any need for additional special instructions.

Mr. Fortescue

Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the condition of some of the wards in the Sefton General Hospital in Liverpool? Not only are they old and dilapidated, but, from them, patients have to be taken across an open space 70 yards wide in all weather for such things as X-ray examinations.

Dr. Dunwoody

There are many old hospitals, and many of them are inadequate, but one should not condemn all old properties. It is possible, by upgrading, to improve many of them immensely. It is because we are conscious of these difficulties that we are spending£100 million—more than twice what was spent by hon. Members opposite when they were in power—on new hospital buildings.