HC Deb 24 October 2000 vol 355 cc115-6
6. Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)

What support and assistance he makes available to Chorley hospital. [1318521

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ms Gisela Stuart)

The total projected income of Chorley and South Ribble NHS Trust for 2000–01 is £62 million. The trust is currently forecasting that at the end of the financial year it will be in a balanced position. I am sure that my hon. Friend will welcome the regional office's recent approval for an additional 30-bed medical ward at Chorley and South Ribble district community hospital, which amounts to a £1.6 million capital investment.

Mr. Hoyle

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. We welcome the new medical ward at Chorley, which is more success for the hospital. We could have even more success at Chorley hospital if we could end postcode medicine. Is my hon. Friend aware of the silly anomaly concerning the two health authorities of south and north Lancashire? If someone comes from north Lancashire and is to go to Chorley hospital, there may be an eight-week waiting list. If someone comes from south Lancashire, there is a 33-week waiting list. If we were to merge the health authorities, there would be more money for Chorley hospital. We would also end a bureaucratic anomaly within the hospital.

Ms Stuart

I am aware that in the short term the regional office is promising to support south Lancashire. The long-term solution is a strategic review of the health authority configuration. I know that Members are actively engaged in that. The health authority will have to approve the arrangements. We are proceeding to consultation, and probably towards the end of next year we might be able to reach a conclusion on the best way forward.

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)

A number of my constituents use Chorley hospital and its neighbour, Royal Preston hospital. I have written to the Minister several times about the case of Mr. Salthouse, who has had three heart attacks. If he is not in hospital, he spends most of his time on a sofa with an oxygen mask. He is receiving continuous morphine. His doctor has said that he is at the severe end stage of heart disease. The only procedure that will help him is percutaneous myocardial revascularisation, and the North-West Lancashire health authority says that it will not pay for it. Talk about the postcode lottery. The authority will not pay because it does not recognise the procedure. However, the procedure is carried out at St. Thomas's.

I am awaiting a response from Lord Hunt. I have been told by his office today that it has lost my correspondence, although it is ready to send a reply. Through you, Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Secretary of State to ascertain what is going on, to read the response before it is sent to me and to send a positive response to Mr. Salthouse, who is eagerly awaiting a form of procedure that will alleviate the condition in which he is living?

Ms Stuart

I shall certainly examine the individual case which the hon. Gentleman has raised. I say to the hon. Gentleman and his constituents that with this Government the way forward is to expand the facilities of the NHS through tax revenue. There should not be an expansion of the private medical health care sector, where treatment would depend on the ability to pay for it.