§ Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)
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 at the end of this week of the Caernarfon hospital casualty unit"—the only casualty unit in the town.
The matter is specific as it arises from the recent decision to close Caernarfon cottage hospital—the sixth hospital closure to be announced in the county in the past 12 months—but it has assumed greater importance because we had expected the closure to be phased and that there would be some co-ordination of alternatives, but the casualty unit is to be closed this week. We learned yesterday that the general practitioners who are expected to cover for the closure have not agreed on how that cover is to be achieved.
The matter is important because, obviously, mothers of children who have accidents and need urgent treatment do not know where to go, and given the short notice of the closure, there has been no opportunity for the town to be notified about the alternative arrangements, and in some circumstances it could be a matter of life and death.
The matter needs urgent consideration because of the stampede by the health authority, acting without proper co-ordination and public information. No doubt co-ordination has been badly affected because of a senior secretarial strike taking place this week, arising from the failure of the authority to negotiate a proper salary settlement. The problem arises largely from the chaos in the health authority, which has a £4 million deficit this year and is in a mad panic, closing wards and services in all directions.
The responsibility for that must be identified. If it is the fault of the health authority for its failure to manage its affairs, quite frankly, the health authority managers should resign. Alternatively, it is the fault of the Welsh Office for failing to provide the health authority with adequate resources and for failing to insist on proper strategic planning of services.
The casualty unit closure is a blow to the town of Caernarfon, causing considerable difficulty in the area. It requires urgent debate. The Welsh Office Ministers must come out of their bunker and face up to the health shambles for which they must take ultimate responsibility.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) seeks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,The closure at the end of this week of the Caernarfon hospital casualty unit.I have listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman has said about this important matter, which affects his constituency. As he knows, I have to decide whether to give it precedence over the business set down for today or for tomorrow. I regret that in this case the matter does not meet the criteria of the Standing Order. I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.