§ 5. Ms. Harman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will pay an official visit to St. Giles hospital, Camberwell.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. John Patten)
I have no plans to do so, but my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State this morning met a deputation which included the hon. Lady to discuss Camberwell health authority's proposal to transfer inpatient services from St. Giles to St. Francis and Dulwich hospitals.
§ Ms. Harman
In view of the threatened closure of services at St. Giles hospital, with the loss to the area of not only vital services but hundreds of jobs, will the Minister accept that the Government's pledge that the Health Service is safe in their hands has a somewhat hollow ring to it? Will he also recognise that people in Peckham feel that the Government are prepared to sacrifice their health in pursuit of the Government's cruel spending cuts?
§ Mr. Patten
My answer to the two general points is, no, followed by no. In answer to the specific question on the hospital about which the hon. Lady is rightly concerned and which is a popular local hospital in an area of social deprivation, I cart say that that matter is being considered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. However, the majority of the people from the area go not to that hospital but to others nearby, such as King's college hospital.
§ Mr. Skinner
Is the Minister aware that the people of Morton in my constituency would join forces with those in Camberwell in complaining about the closure of their hospital? Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that now that he has stopped the pharmaceutical industry ripping off the taxpayer and the NHS to the extent that it was doing hitherto, the money will be used to keep open the St. Giles and Morton hospitals?
§ Mr. Patten
The hon. Gentleman is uncharacteristically out of touch with his constituency. I understand that the area's community health council has agreed to the closure.