HC Deb 01 February 1971 vol 810 cc1223-5
7. Mr. McBride

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to improve the medical staffing position in casualty units in South Wales hospitals.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Hospital authorities, which are responsible, are doing their best to fill vacant posts. The problem of staffing casualty units is widespread in England and Wales, and discussions are currently taking place with the profession on means of improving the position.

Mr. McBride

In his answer the hon. Gentleman refrained from saying what steps he is taking to improve the position. I speak particularly of the Morriston Hospital in Swansea and would ask him to restore the casualty unit service to that hospital, which serves the greater part of my constituency in the Swansea Valley. One of the factors that deter recruiting of doctors is the provision of substandard accommodation. In Morriston and other hospitals accommodation should be brought up to modern standards, and the Secretary of State should increase the financial allocation to the Glantawe hospital and other boards so that they may be able to provide this accommodation and to recruit doctors.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I understand the hon. Gentleman's anxiety about this problem, which I admitted in my answer: namely, the difficulty of obtaining sufficient staff for casualty units. On Friday night I met the chairmen of the hospital management committees of Wales, including a member from the hon. Gentleman's area. This problem is very much under review by the hospital board.

Mr. G. Elfed Davies

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this problem causes great concern throughout the whole of Wales? Will he now reconsider the decision in regard to the Llwynypia Hospital in my constituency since his decision is causing great concern in Llwynypia itself?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, whose anxiety I understand, the whole problem in Llwynypia Hospital and many other hospitals, not only in Wales but also in England, is the difficulty of attracting staff for these casualty units.

Mr. William Edwards

At the risk of treading on the toes of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas), could the Minister make sure that not too many new jobs are created immediately around the teaching hospital in Cardiff? It is being said by other hospitals in Wales that it is extremely difficult to attract new housemen to areas outside Cardiff because of the large number of jobs available near the teaching hospital.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

That is another question, but I am quite prepared to look into it.