HC Deb 12 November 1973 vol 864 cc18-9
17. Mr. Probert

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent the hospitals in Wales are affected by staff shortages.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

It is not possible to give a generalised answer, since the incidence and effect of staff shortages vary If the hon. Member has any particular hospital or particular category of staff in mind I will gladly look into it.

Mr. Probert

In view of the most unfortunate experience of one of my constituents at the very large new hospital at the Heath—a report of which the hon. Gentleman has given me, for which I am grateful—and which is no doubt due to staff shortages, medical, and otherwise, will he make sure that in future the smaller hospitals, particularly in the valleys, will not be closed? Does he agree that they have a valuable contribution to make to the local communities and that staff shortages do not always exist in them to the same extent as in the larger hospitals?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The hon. Gentleman has raised a number of separate points. I am sure that the first point he raises refers to Mrs. Higgs. If this is the case, I can only say about that sad occurrence that shortage of staff was one of the reasons why her operation needed to be postponed. The general question of the closing of smaller hospitals in the valleys and elsewhere is a matter which this and previous Governments have gone into with great care and a good deal of concern. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that this Government will continue to take this attitude.

Forward to