HC Deb 08 July 1991 vol 194 cc631-2
4. Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to meet the chairman of the South Glamorgan health authority to discuss hospital reorganisations.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

We have no plans at present to meet the chairman of the South Glamorgan health authority to discuss this matter.

Mr. Morgan

Now that the South Glamorgan health authority seems, on the quiet, to have dropped its proposals for a £70 million third district general hospital in South Glamorgan, what influence will that have on the Minister's decision regarding the proposal to expand the treatment centre at the Prince of Wales orthopaedic hospital, Rhydlafar, in my constituency which, if it were given half a chance by the Minister, would eliminate the waiting list for artificial knees and hips, and carry out up to 1,000 operations a year for the very small capital expenditure of £ 160,000, instead of the 250 operations that it carries out now?

Mr. Bennett

I understand that the South Glamorgan health authority is reviewing the need for a third district hospital, but that it has not yet come to a decision. I shall make decisions on treatment centres and other matters in the light of that decision, when it is made.

Mr. Gareth Wardell

Does not the Under-Secretary of State accept my hon. Friend's contention that it is a disgrace that the specialist treatment centre at Rhydlafar hospital has already used up its quota for knee operations this year? It is also close to its limit of 160 hip replacements per year. Is not there a desperate need for extra funding, so that the number of operations performed there can be increased, to make that a superb regional orthopaedic centre?

Mr. Bennett

I am always interested in improving the productivity of treatment centres and I am happy at the way that they have functioned. They have reached the target set for them. Clearly, we shall have to consider future allocations of waiting list money, but I can give no guarantee about that aspect at present. It is for district health authorities to reach agreement with treatment centres on the number of patients that are treated at any particular centre.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

Is it not desirable, in general terms and particularly in respect of the issue in question, to deal in facts? Can my hon. Friend say how much health spending increased in South Glamorgan over the past 10 or 12 years and what that has meant for improving the quality of patient care?

Mr. Bennett

In 1979, South Glamorgan health authority received in cash terms £59 million, compared with £180 million this year. That represents a 30 per cent. increase in real terms, after taking inflation into account. As to figures for the Welsh health service, there has been a 36 per cent. increase in the number of in-patients treated, a 29 per cent. increase in out-patients and a 200 per cent. increase in day surgery. Under the Labour Government, the number of out-patients fell.