§ Mr. Robert Litherland (Manchester, Central)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the closure of cots for premature babies at St. Mary's hospital, Manchester.The hospital is to close five vital cots for premature babies because of the acute shortage of specialist nurses. I am informed that engineers will be called in to disconnect the oxygen suction and electricity supply to the life-support incubators before Christmas, leaving only 10 cots for the entire region.
Dr. Chiswick, the consultant in charge of the premature baby unit at St. Mary's hospital, has warned that that unprecedented action would mean that fewer babies could be saved. The conclusion is that the hospital will be forced to reject dying babies. That assessment has been confirmed by another top consultant, who claims that it is the death-knell for intensive care of babies and that more will certainly die.
Already, 50 per cent. of requests for the admission of babies are refused. Those babies are turned away and die unnecessarily because cots cannot be obtained anywhere. Current funding of the premature baby unit allows only for sufficient specialist nurses to maintain the reduced number of cots. The predicament facing the hospital is desperate.
I find it a most disturbing and unforgivable situation which allows premature babies to die when the means and the resources could be provided to allow them to live. Our society and the Government have sunk to a new low in medical care. I am ashamed that that should happen to babies in my constituency, or anywhere else. The House should be deeply concerned about these revelations. I beg to seek leave to move the Adjournment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the closure of cots for premature babies at St. Mary's hospital, Manchester.I have listened with great care to what the hon. Gentleman has said, but I regret that I do not consider the matter which he has raised as appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20, and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House. However, I hope that he may have other methods of bringing the matter before the House.