HC Deb 23 March 1976 vol 908 cc194-5
17. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will pay a visit to Wolverhampton in order to see hospital facilities there.

Dr. Owen

I have to visit Cosford, and I hope to visit Wolverhampton also.

Mrs. Short

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for that reply. I hope that he will let me know when he is going to Wolverhampton, because I am anxious that he should see the inadequate situation there, with phase one of a new hospital in operation and six other old hospitals in the same town. That situation makes the deployment of medical services very difficult. Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that these old hospitals will need another £2,500,000 spent on them if the new hospital is not completed? That is very bad housekeeping.

Dr. Owen

I am sympathetic about the situation. The area will have a net development addition, because it is one of the deprived regions. I hope that the extra money will correct the deprivation.

Mr. Jasper More

When the Minister visits Cosford, will he ensure that there is no decision to close that hospital until the completion of the hospital at Telford?

Dr. Owen

I shall consider all the factors, including the representations made by the regional health authority.

Mr. Cormack

Will the Minister discuss with the Wolverhampton Community Council its urgent representations that the hospital must not be closed until adequate provisions are provided?

Dr. Owen

It is striking how the party that has constantly clamoured for cuts in public expenditure is now resisting any closures or rationalisation in current expenditure.