§ Mr. Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, 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 shortage of specialist nursing staff in intensive care units in west Midlands hospitals, affecting infants needing heart surgery".This matter is specific because a north Staffordshire baby, David Barber, 34 days old and suffering from a hole in the heart and a missing valve, has now had his heart operation cancelled five times. The excellent Birmingham children's hospital has operating theatres available. It has surgeons who are ready and anxious to perform the operation. It has beds in the intensive care unit, but it cannot make use of those beds which lie empty because it has not the specialist nursing staff to service those beds.
This matter is important because it concerns not only the misery and anxiety which must face David Barber's family, but also the terrible choices facing hospital staff in deciding on which babies to operate. Above all, it concerns the crisis of nurse shortages which are facing the National Health Service after eight years of Government cuts and neglect. We know that 30,000 nurses leave the National Health Service every year because of a combination of low pay, poor conditions and very inflexible hours, and the Government are doing little or nothing about it.
This matter is urgent because, unless David Barber and other babies like him get the surgery which they so desperately need, his and their condition will inevitably deteriorate. Hon. Members on both sides of the House and members of the public will be appalled that the Government have allowed the National Health Service to decline to the point at which infants needing heart surgery are denied treatment. For that reason, I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the shortage of specialist nursing staff in intensive care units in west Midlands hospitals, affecting infants needing heart surgery".I have listened with the greatest care and concern to what the hon. Gentleman has said and I also listened to him earlier this morning on the radio. I regret that I cannot find that this matter should take precedence over the Orders for today, but I hope that he may have other opportunities of raising it.