§ 8. Mr. Stephen Ross
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that the Netley Castle convalescent home near Southampton remains open for National Health Service patients.
§ Mr. Whitney
Management of this hospital is the responsibility of the Southampton and South-West Hampshire health authority, which yesterday considered its future use. I understand the authority decided that this hospital should remain open.
§ Mr. Ross
I have had to turn again to the Minister for support, as I have been campaigning for three or four months to ensure that the hospital remains open. However, I am delighted at the news announced after last night's meeting. Is he aware that my constituents, some of whom are cancer sufferers, have very much relied on that home for the past 10 or 15 years? I pay tribute to the care and attention given by the staff at the home, which is very 773 highly regarded in my part of the world. May I tell the Minister that I am grateful that that decision has been reached.
§ Sir David Price
Is my hon. Friend aware that that quite admirable home is in my constituency and that I have looked after it for the past 31 years? [Interruption.] Is my hon. Friend further aware that virtually all of the home's patients come not from the Southampton/south-west Hampshire area but from the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands? We are delighted about that, but the funding arrangements vis à vis areas that send patients to that home are for from adequate. Given the squeeze on Southampton and south-west Hampshire, the pressure is on to obtain a better contribution from the districts that use the home.
§ Mr. Whitney
I am very happy to endorse the remarks of my hon. Friend who, over the past 31 years, has made a powerful contribution to his constituency. This year, the allocation to the Wessex area regional health authority, which involves that whole district, has been increased by 7.7 per cent. I very much hope that the authorities concerned will be able to fulfil my hon. Friend's wishes.