HC Deb 06 March 1979 vol 963 cc1074-5
4. Mr. Andrew MacKay

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends next to meet the chairman of Birmingham area health authority.

Mr. Moyle

I expect to see him on Thursday during my visit to South-East Staffordshire and North Birmingham. May I say that that answer was written before my right hon. Friend went into hospital, and it is not to be taken as gospel truth.

Mr. MacKay

When the Minister meets Mr. John Bettinson, will he discuss with him ways of reducing the five-year waiting list for non-emergency, but nevertheless essential, operations in the East Birmingham hospital? Is he satisfied that Birmingham, as the second largest city in the country, with a large and increasing catchment area, is getting its fair share of funds allocated by his Department for the NHS?

Mr. Moyle

Allocations to the Birmingham area health authority take place on the Resource Allocation Working Party formula, which is the same for the whole of the country. In addition to the provision which I indicated in my answer to the hon. Gentleman on 30 January was being instituted in Birmingham, I am pleased to be able to tell him that detailed planning will shortly commence for the development of the so-called "carcase block" at Queen Elizabeth hospital to provide facilities for renal dialysis, transplants, radiotherapy and cardiac surgery. Of course, the proposal will be subject to approval in the context of the strategic plans of the health authorities concerned.

Dr. Vaughan

Does the Minister really support the proposals to encourage Dutch nurses to come to this country to fill vacancies in the West Midlands and Birmingham area when the shortage of nurses is largely due to the cut-back in training that was instituted by the Government and the inflexible methods of part-time nursing?

Mr. Moyle

The hon. Gentleman is misinformed. In fact, in the first nine months of this year the recruitment for nurse training was substantially in excess of the numbers recruited for nurse training in the equivalent nine months of the preceding year. Therefore, I do not think that the question arises.