HC Deb 27 March 1984 vol 57 cc130-1
8. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what value the Government attach to the work of local community hospitals.

Mr. John Patten

We value highly the important contribution made by community hospitals to the National Health Service. Their place in the pattern of district services is primarily a matter for health authorities to decide in consultation with others concerned at local level.

Mr. Jessel

Is my hon. Friend aware of the feeling of relief in Teddington, where next Sunday a thanksgiving service is to be held following the strong recommendation of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that Teddington memorial hospital should be saved? Is he also aware that that feeling contrasts deeply with the feeling in Twickenham, only a mile to the north, about the future of St. John's hospital which, like every community hospital, gives valuable service? Will my hon. Friend listen carefully to the strong representations that will be made about that

Mr. Patten

It is not often that we have church services held for us. We are grateful for that and for my hon. Friend's kind words. No one could have worked harder or more effectively for his constituents, and for the interests of the Teddington memorial hospital. The other matter is one for the future.

Mr. Rathbone

Does my hon. Friend agree that the use and value of these hospitals is reflected in what communities do to support them, as well as in the way communities use them?

Mr. Patten

My hon. Friend is right. It is important to remember that community hospitals — those with 50 beds or fewer—form about 20 per cent. of hospitals in the country, and many of those are greatly helped by leagues of friends, voluntary organisations and individuals.

Mr. Madden

Does the Minister appreciate that the feeling of thanksgiving would also spread to Bradford if he made an announcement that Thornton view hospital, which has been occupied since last August, will be saved? When will he make a statement and can he tell us the substance of that statement?

Mr. Patten

The Thornton view hospital is not commonly thought of as a community hospital. The matter is under consideration and an announcement will be made in due course.