§ 13. Mr. Robert Atkins
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to be able to make a further statement about the proposed closure of the children's ward at Wrightington hospital.
§ Mr. John Patten
As my hon. Friend knows, I have written to the regional health authority seeking certain assurances following his earlier representations. I shall write to him again shortly.
§ Mr. Atkins
I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. Does he recognise that the decision about the proposed closure has taken a great deal of time, and that many people around the area are concerned about the future of this children's ward? Does he also recognise the importance of retaining the team together, so that the facility for treating children suffering from arthritis is maintained in the area?
§ Mr. Patten
My hon. Friend has been a powerful advocate of this cause, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Dover). I hope that my hon. Friend recognises, by the care that we have shown for this small group of children, that we care very much for those, however small in number, who are disadvantaged.