HC Deb 14 March 1994 vol 239 cc607-8
7. Mr. Jon Owen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has made to take Welsh hospitals into the next century; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

Since 1979, £1.4 billion has been spent on improving the national health service estate in Wales: 60 major hospital schemes have been completed or are under way. I am to announce shortly details of the new capital programme. My right hon. Friend and I regularly visit hospitals throughout Wales. I look forward this coming Wednesday to launching the new magnetic resonance imaging scanner in Cardiff at the University hospital of Wales.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones

I hope that the Minister is aware that there is an increasing fashion among hospital administrators to locate all the facilities that they possibly can under one roof, regardless of the convenience or feelings of the local community or of the use that it makes of those facilities. Does he have any sympathy with older hospitals, much loved by their patients, which face closure as a result of that misguided policy? I should like an answer, particularly on Cardiff royal infirmary.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

The interests of the community clearly ought to be considered on every occasion. The movement towards trust status, whose popularity in Wales is increasing rapidly, emphasises exactly that point. That is what we look for in every application for trust status. There must be greater benefits to the local community that the hospitals serve.

On the point about Cardiff royal infirmary, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already placed it firmly on the record, and I fully subscribe to his view, that the closest consideration must be given to any question of closing a hospital in Wales. The case must be fully proved before such action can be justified.

Mr. Richards

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the proposed cancer treatment centre at Glan Clwyd NHS trust hospital, which will benefit cancer sufferers throughout north Wales and beyond, will go ahead as planned, despite attempts by Opposition Members to stop the plan?

Mr. Gwilym Jones

I know that my hon. Friend has been stalwart in campaigning for the new facility at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. It is absolutely right that we should have that new cancer treatment facility in north Wales. It has been most carefully researched and the decision has been given the go-ahead. I look forward to the centre being set up as soon as possible.