§ 5. Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will review health policy in Wales to ensure that local community hospitals are not adversely affected by the centralisation of financial resources into the district general hospitals.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
Health policy is always kept under review, but it is not our policy to centralise resources into the district general hospitals.
§ Mr. Wigley
Will the Minister accept that that is happening, whatever the policy may be? Is he aware that throughout Wales we are hearing the same complaint? For example, is he aware that in Aberdare last week I was told that the general hospital was losing facilities to Prince Charles' hospital in Merthyr, and that last weekend in Caernarfon a similar complaint was made to me about the Eryri hospital losing X-ray facilities to the new district general hospital at Bangor? If the Minister is not aware of these problems, it is high time that he opened his eyes and did something about them.
§ Mr. Roberts
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to discourage us from going ahead with the tremendously impressive new district general hospitals that we are building throughout Wales, because he knows that they are the focal point of the provision of specialised and acute services. Our district general hospitals are intended to consolidate, and provide more efficiently, those services that may have been found previously in smaller hospitals. It is a matter for the health authority to consider whether the smaller hospitals can be put to an alternative use or should be disposed of.
§ Mr. Raffan
My hon. Friend will be aware that the Clwyd area health authority has now agreed to keep open Chatsworth house hospital, Prestatyn, with 12 GP general medical beds. When this proposal comes before my hon. Friend, may I ask him to give serious consideration to the counter-proposals of the hospital's action committee, which would add GP maternity beds, an ante-natal clinic and combined district nurse and midwifery facility—proposals that make far more economic and practical sense than those of the health authority?
§ Mr. Roberts
My right hon. Friend will give careful consideration to any representations that are made to him on this issue.
§ Dr. Roger Thomas
May we be reassured that the specialty of geriatrics will be continued at our district general hospitals and will not be relegated into the shadows of our community hospitals?
§ Mr. Roberts
As the hon. Gentleman, of all people, should know, we are most concerned with the elderly, just as we are concerned with the mentally ill and mentally handicapped. We have always urged health authorities and local authorities to give them their close attention.