§ 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 without notice of further hospital wards in the North Tees general hospital in Stockton, and the 50 per cent. reduction in the number of beds in the intensive care unit.The closure relates to two wards in that hospital — ward 3, which is a maternity provision ward, and beds in the children's ward for paediatric provision; together with a 50 per cent. reduction in the intensive care unit, which has only six beds in total. Three wards are to be closed, and one of the three remaining ones is occupied by young Nathalie Olds, who has occupied it ever since she was born, as that is the only way in which she can stay alive. So only one third of intensive care provision is left in the North Tees hospital.
That is in addition to the closures that I raised with you, Mr. Speaker, a week ago today under Standing Order No. 20. I referred to the 48 elderly care beds and the 44 surgical beds that were to be removed, and the one theatre session per day that was to be ended. That is how specific the matter is. It is important because, as I said at the time, North Tees general hospital is the only provision for a community of more than 100,000 people north of the Tees. Any reduction in the services given by that hospital would have an immediate and significant effect. It is a dereliction of duty for the Secretary of State to allow that. Under the legislation, he has a duty to make such provision.
The matter is urgent, for this reason. At least last week's closures were announced to the community health council before they took place, but these closures are to be announced to the community health council next month, after they have taken place. Therefore, it is more important that we have this debate today.
Last Thursday, in the Health Service debate, the junior health Minister, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South (Mrs. Currie), leapt in and out of that debate with all the grace and skill of a runaway sideboard. She had the 618 effrontery to tell me, or at least imply, that I did not have a clue what I was saying and that I knew nothing about North Tees general hospital.
I beg you, Mr. Speaker, to allow us a debate on that emergency topic today. I could then show the House what I know about the health care conditions in North Tees and how the matter needs immediate attention.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Cook) 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 closure without notice of further hospital wards in the North Tees general hospital in Stockton, and the 50 per cent. reduction in the number of beds in the intensive care unit.I have listened with great care to what the hon. Gentleman has said, but he knows that my duty in assessing whether to grant a Standing Order No. 20 debate is whether to give it precedence over the business set down for today or tomorrow. I regret that I cannot find that his submission meets the criteria of Standing Order No. 20 applications, and I therefore cannot submit his application to the House.