§ LORD SORENSEN
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Ouestion which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration is being given by the Ministry of Health to the Report by the Medical Care Research Unit based on inquiries into the conditions of out-patient departments in 80 hospitals; whether it is considered the conditions disclosed are typical of 1245 many hospitals outside the scope of that Report; and what progress is being made to improve poor conditions for out-patients in some hospitals nearer to the criterion of hospitals where conditions are generally excellent.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (LORD KENNET)
My Lords, the Report of a survey commissioned by the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust and covering out-patient services at 80 hospitals was published last week under the title Gateway or Dividing Line?. It is being closely studied at the Ministry of Health and my right honourable friend the Minister will give careful consideration to any evidence from the survey of deficiencies in the out-patient services and to any suggestions made in the Report for their improvement. He is not yet in a position to give his considered views. There is no reason to suppose that the results of such a broadly based survey are not applicable to other hospitals as well, but one may assume that improvements have been made since the survey began in 1962; for example, 241 new out-patient departments have been completed since then and 58 more are under construction.
§ LORD SORENSEN
My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his reply, may I ask whether he appreciates that there are some hospitals that have immensely improved conditions for out-patients, quite apart from the waiting period? If that be so, can he give me any explanation of why some hospitals have secured this improvement and others still lag far behind? Could it not make the better hospitals a criterion for the rest?
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, the explanations I could give would probably be longer than would suit the convenience of the House at the moment. The position varies from hospital to hospital, but this is a matter which preoccupies my right honourable friend and the Regional Hospital Boards.