HL Deb 18 December 1995 vol 567 cc1405-6

2.57 p.m.

Baroness Seear asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following the answers given by Baroness Cumberlege on 5th December 1994 (H.L. Deb vol. 559, 789–790), whether negotiations have been held to relocate the London Foot Hospital and School of Podiatric Medicine, and what steps have been taken to preserve it as a centre of excellence in the teaching of podiatry.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in so asking, I declare an interest as the president of the Institute of Podiatry.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege)

My Lords, discussions are continuing. National Health Service managers aim to improve the educational position and remedy the poor accommodation of the London Foot Hospital, while maintaining its high quality services for patients.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer, but I must say that I do not find it very informative. Can we rely upon the fact that the Government realise that it is important to keep the links with University College, which provides theoretical training and is close to the existing foot hospital; that it is essential for the proper training of podiatrists that they should have the best possible mix of theoretical and practical training; and that it is also essential to keep the highly specialist staff together there rather than have them dispersed throughout the country?

Baroness Cumberlege

My Lords, yes. I always find the noble Baroness a doughty debater. I should like to say that even more so since I understand that she is this year's joint winner of the Spectator special parliamentarian of the year award. I congratulate her.

Noble Lords

Hear, hear!

Baroness Cumberlege

My Lords, I congratulate also my noble friend Lady Trumpington, who I understand shares the award. The answer is yes.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, I am tempted to say that I do not think that the answer has anything to do with the question.

Baroness Cumberlege

My Lords, yes, to keeping close links with University College London; yes, to trying to keep the staff together; and yes, to trying to keep the standards as high as they are now.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, perhaps I may thank the Minister very much. That is a much better answer.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes

My Lords, is the word "podiatrist" becoming commonly used in this country? We have normally called people chiropodists. In Australia everyone is now a podiatrist. Is this new terminology widely in use here?

Baroness Cumberlege

My Lords, I understand that it is widely in use here, except for my late father-in-law who insisted on calling his chiropodist his corn merchant.