HC Deb 05 February 1991 vol 185 cc153-4
12. Mr. Duffy

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he next expects to meet the chairman of the Trent regional health authority to discuss the hospital bed situation in the Sheffield health authority.

Mr. Dorrell

When I next meet Sir Michael Carlisle I shall congratulate him on the fact that the number of in-patients treated by Sheffield health authority has increased by 52 per cent. since 1979. I shall also congratulate him on the fact that in-patient waiting lists in Sheffield have fallen by nearly 14 per cent. in the last 12 months, while the number of people waiting for more than 12 months is down by 56 per cent. over the same period.

Mr. Duffy

Nevertheless, 286 hospital beds have been for financial reasons lost in Sheffield over the past year. Red alerts continue, inevitably throwing a greater strain on surgical beds and waiting lists, out-patient facilities and the staff who must work the beds a good deal more intensively as a result. Does the Minister believe that the factual statment is a matter for congratulation?

Mr. Dorrell

The hon. Gentleman's difficulty is that he is pushed back on press releases and on repeating already well-repeated formulae. What seems more important to me is the fact that Sheffield health authority has shorter waiting lists and is treating more patients than ever before.

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