HC Deb 11 January 1977 vol 923 cc1231-3
2. Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the latest situation at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.

The Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Mr. Roland Moyle)

Interim facilities of 70 beds are to be provided at the Whittington Hospital by mid-February, when it is expected that all in-patient facilities at Euston Road will be closed. It is intended to establish a final facility of perhaps about 100 beds identifiable under the name of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson at the Whittington Hospital. This is still under discussion by a project team of the area health authority, on which the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and the Whittington Hospital are both represented. Such a facility cannot be established before the commissioning of the diagnostic block at the Whittington Hospital later this year, when a greater degree of rearrangement of that hospital will be possible.

Miss Fookes

How much count has the Minister given to the loss of staff morale and possible excellence when these facilities are dispersed within a bigger institution, which is what it comes to?

Mr. Moyle

We have given considerable consideration to the question of the staff and the possible loss of morale. We believe that we can offer most of them jobs at the Whittington or in other parts of the health service.

Mrs. Jeger

In view of the feelings of the staff, and the fact that inferior accommodation is temporarily being provided at Whittington for in-patients while the old hospital is being preserved for outpatients, surely there should be a minimum saving in this situation? It would be much more sensible to leave things as they are until a final provision could be made for an identifiable Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.

Mr. Moyle

That might incur a considerable expenditure on the existing site, and we have already started to transfer a number of beds from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital to Whittington Hospital.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Is not the situation even more disturbing than as outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes)? As there has now been such a long delay it must be questionable whether the undertaking of the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) will effectively be implemented at all, because there will not be much left to transfer.

Mr. Moyle

A process of transfer is already going on. It is our intention that the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson facilities will be established, to the extent that I have indicated, at the Whittington General Hospital.