§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Rod Richards)
In addition to the meeting he and his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberavon( Mr. Morris) had with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and myself, eight.
§ Mr. Hain
Is the Minister aware that people in Neath are desperately worried and angry about the way in which our hospital is being run down? We have lost the accident and emergency department, and now maternity is under threat. Can he reassure us all by giving a public commitment that he will back the health authority's recent decision to maintain fully fledged maternity and obstetric facilities at Neath? Why should mothers who, for generations, have been able to have their babies in Neath be forced to travel—in some cases over 20 miles—to Singleton hospital, itself at bursting point, as are all the hospitals in south-west Wales?
§ Mr. Richards
I understand that no decision has yet been made on the development of maternity services at Neath general hospital. The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in what he said about the hospital being run down. Very recently, seven new consultants have been appointed, five of whom are anaesthetists.