HC Deb 03 June 1986 vol 98 cc724-5
10. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will meet members of Wandsworth district health authority to discuss his proposal to close St. James's hospital.

Mr. Whitney

This is not a proposal of my right hon. Friend and it would not be appropriate for Ministers to intervene at this stage. All health authorities are required to consult formally on any proposals for closure or change of use of health premises. The Secretary of State will certainly take account of all the views expressed locally should a proposal come to him for final decision in due course. In the meantime, the hon. Member may wish to keep in contact with the chairman of Wandsworth district health authority on the matter.

Mr. Dubs

Is the Minister aware that the Health Service in south London, particularly in Lambeth and Wandsworth, is in a state of chaos? The ambulance service cannot meet needs, hospitals are being closed temporarily and in-patient admissions are being cancelled at the last minute. Against this background, the suggestion that a much-needed and much-loved local hospital should he closed because of a lack of resources for Wandsworth is surely unthinkable. Is it not for the Minister to say to the health authority, "You can have the money. We do not want this hospital to be closed"?

Mr. Whitney

No, Sir, I am not so aware. If the hon. Gentleman refers to a debate that took place a week or two ago he will see a statement on the future development of London's ambulance services. He will be aware of the new facilities that are becoming available within Wandsworth, such as the exciting new facilities at St. George's hospital.