§ Mr. Quentin Davies (Stamford and Spalding)
I beg to present a petition signed by more than 8,000 of my constituents, urging the Secretary of State to save Bourne hospital.
Bourne hospital is almost the ideal type of local hospital, each year providing about 8,000 bed days and 3,500 to 4,000 out-patient appointments for a population of about 15,000 people. As more than 8,000 people in my constituency and in the area served by Bourne hospital have signed the petition, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will realise that it is supported by an overwhelming majority of the adult population in the area.
Lincolnshire health authority proposed the closure of the hospital on clinical grounds, but the hospital's survival is supported by every general practitioner in the area, and by their patients. I believe that Bourne hospital is exactly the type of cottage hospital to which the Prime Minister recently paid very warm tribute. It is an absolutely essential part of the health care of the local community in a rural area such as Lancashire. The nearest general hospitals are 20 miles or more away, and it would be a major blow for the health of the people in my constituency if Bourne hospital were to close.
The health authority has made no financial arguments for closing the hospital that stand up to scrutiny. If it were closed, there would be considerable additional expenditure on ambulances, and the beds currently occupied by patients in the hospital would have to be purchased from acute hospitals elsewhere, most of which are a good deal more expensive. I urge the Secretary of State to do everything possible to preserve Bourne hospital.
To lie upon the Table.