HC Deb 10 February 1977 vol 925 c1637
5. Mr. Molyneaux

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he intends to take to ensure full utilisation of the existing facilities at Massereene Hospital, Antrim.

Mr. Carter

Responsibility for this matter rests with the Northern Health and Social Services Board, which has it under review. I am, however, keeping in close touch with developments.

Mr. Molyneaux

Is the Minister aware that the new wing of this hospital, which in today's values would cost about £2 million, is lying idle? Will he ensure that the 50 surgical beds involved and the modern theatre are brought fully into use? Will he give an undertaking that there will be no further rundown of any existing departments?

Mr. Carter

I am aware of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter. He has written to my noble Friend on the subject. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the difficulties at the hospital are currently the subject of investigation. Indeed, my noble Friend intends to reply to the hon. Gentleman's letter in the very near future.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Does the Minister agree that the future of the Massereene Hospital is closely connected with the future of the Waverley Hospital in Ballymena, and that these two hospitals depend upon each other for their services, especially theatre services? Will he tell us when the board, which has been very slow in making up its mind on the future of the hospitals in North Antrim, will be able to bring in final recommendations about them?

Mr. Carter

As far as I am aware, there is no doubt about the future of these hospitals. If the hon. Gentleman feels that there is some doubt hanging over the two hospitals, perhaps he would write to my noble Friend, when he would get a categorical reply on the future of both hospitals.