§ Mr. Frank Cook (Stockton, North)
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 beds and the reduction of theatre sessions at North Tees general hospital in the constituency of Stockton, North.The matter is specific in that it relates to the fact that at the weekend the hospital was unable to make provision for emergency admission to the elderly care wards. A total of 92 beds are to be closed before 1 December. Of these, 48 beds are in the two elderly care wards, which would mean a 25 per cent, closure in that unit, and 44 are surgical beds. It means the removal of one theatre session per day from the surgery unit at the hospital. All that is due to what is described as a "crisis". The crisis is a combination of no cash for recruiting badly needed nurses, and high sickness levels, which nurses say are related to stress due to under-staffing.
The Government's declared statement of priorities during the election was care of the elderly and a reduction in surgical waiting lists. North Tees general hospital is the only proper source of that sort of provision, not only for my patch, but for other surrounding areas. Therefore, the loss is immediate and significant.
When elderly patients, some disoriented, some doubly incontinent and some very feeble, are decanted into other wards in hospitals, as is proposed, it not only militates against their welfare, but impedes the proper allocation of other badly needed facilities for others in need. If patients 22 attending a consultant are judged to be in need of hospital attention, under the health Acts the health authority is legally and morally bound to make available appropriate provision. What disturbs me, and is important, is that if the steps that I have mentioned are taken that moral and legal and obligation will be breached.
The matter is urgent, because winter is not approaching, but is here. Anyone walking outside today will be aware of that. Where is the compassion that the Government talk about? Where is the care that they say they provide? Where is the cash that they are supposed to have poured into the Health Service since 1979? I challenge any hon. Member to put any hospital he cares to name against the North Tees general hospital and try to prove that it is any more efficient or complies more with the Government's regulations and diktat. North Tees general hospital has done its level best, yet despite that the hospital and the Northern regional health authority are unable to provide for the constituents in my patch because of Government constraints. I demand a debate on that topic today.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member has asked for 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 beds and the reduction of theatre sessions at the North Tees general hospital.I listened with great care to what the hon. Member said, but I regret that I do not consider that the matter he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. However, I hope that he will have other opportunities to raise a matter of this kind, perhaps on Thursday.