HC Deb 08 February 1977 vol 925 cc1210-1
6. Sir Bernard Braine

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the staff at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital will be offered alternative employment when the in-patient facilities are closed.

Mr. Moyle

The Camden and Islington Area Health Authority (Teaching) has said that there will be no compulsory redundancies and that staff at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital will be offered alternative employment when the in-patient facilities are closed at Euston Road.

Sir B. Braine

Is it not the case that the transfer of in-patient services has been postponed again? Why is this? Is the Minister aware that the staff of this famous hospital enjoy the high regard and even affection of the very large number of women who have been treated there? Can he give an assurance that when these facilities are closed down these able and dedicated staff will not only be given employment but will be given comparable employment?

Mr. Moyle

Certainly it is the intention to offer comparable employment to employees of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital wherever possible. The removal of facilities from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital to Whittington Hospital has been postponed for a further eight weeks to ensure that the wards to receive the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson patients are of the highest standards when they get there.

Mr. Baker

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the hospital has given a unique service for nearly 100 years to women living in central London? Will he consider again the many proposals before him to close other hospitals in central London, as the closure of many specialist units would be yet another factor leading to the decline of our inner city areas?

Mr. Moyle

I have very much in mind the matters of health care in the inner city areas. Whenever a community health council disagrees with a health authority's proposal for closure, that proposal ends up on either my desk or that of my right hon. Friend. The hon. Gentleman can be confident that we shall take all these factors into account.

Mrs. Wise

Is my hon. Friend aware that some of my hon. Friends and I are glad that the transfer of patients was postponed and that we hope that the whole principle is still under consideration? Does he agree that it is dangerous to dispense with this specialist hospital for women in view of the grossly male-dominated State medical services in general?

Mr. Moyle

There is no intention to dispense with the concept of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital. Both my right hon. Friend and his predecessor are determined that the hospital will be transferred to the Whittington Hospital under the name of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and that there will be facilities there for women to be treated by women. In that way the hospital will be preserved. It is our firm intention to proceed with that plan.