HC Deb 15 May 1978 vol 950 cc4-6
4. Mr. Kinnock

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has for major hospital extensions and new hospital building over the next five years.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Barry Jones)

My right hon. and learned Friend's aim is to bring into operation the schemes at Rhyl and at Bangor and to make a start on the next round of major hospital developments for the 1980s which were announced in December 1976 at Bridgend, Llanelli, Wrexham Maelor, Morriston and St. Woolos, Gwent. In addition, we are discussing with authorities the detailed content of a programme of other schemes costing up to £1 million each.

Mr. Kinnock

Although I acknowledge the general need for extensive hospital improvements throughout Wales, will not my hon. Friend accept that we have been waiting a very long time for and had promises on two occasions of a new district general hospital to serve West Gwent and that consultative opinion and general practitioner opinion have now joined other opinions in those areas to emphasise the desperate need for such hospital provision to cut waiting lists, to provide new means and to relieve my constituents and others of the enormous costs of travel as out-patients and visitors to these hospitals?

Mr. Barry Jones

My hon. Friend has campaigned for a long time on this issue. However, the Gwent Area Health Authority advised that priority should be given to the development of the Royal Gwent and St. Woolos hospitals. Scheme 5 of the Royal Gwent developments will be completed later this year, and the scheme at St. Woolos is at an advanced stage of planning. I can tell my hon. Friend specifically that the long-term objective of the area health authority is a third district general hospital to serve the western part of Gwent.

Sir A. Meyer

Is the hon. Gentleman yet in a position to give any idea of the latest expected date for the operation of the district general hospital at Rhyl?

Mr. Barry Jones

I should need notice of that question to give a detailed answer, but I estimate that some time next year is the hoped-for date.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, because of greatly increased pressure, the facilities now at the West Wales General Hospital at Carmarthen are gravely inadequate and that if the position continues to be neglected it could become critical? Is he further aware that this is the only acute hospital in Wales which lacks an intensive care unit?

Mr. Barry Jones

Other parts of Dyfed are saying stridently that they should be the first in the queue for available money for development. The Withybush scheme, which is a £7 million development, will be coming on stream this year, which will help the area of Dyfed and to some degree the hon. Member's constituency.

Mr. Anderson

Can my hon. Friend confirm in terms that his announcement means that the new development at Morriston hospital will take place at the time originally envisaged and that there is no delay, as was feared some months ago?

Mr. Barry Jones

We envisage no slippage, and I hope that authority to invite tenders for some of the schemes can be given by 1979. However, a final decision cannot be taken until the very detailed planning needed has been completed and there has been full and thorough consideration of the fairest and most equitable way to proceed.

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