HC Deb 09 November 1939 vol 353 cc427-8W
Mrs. Adamson

asked the Minister of Health the number of beds in maternity hospitals, sanatoria, general hospitals, and mental hospitals, in evacuation, and in other areas, respectively, which were taken over for casualty cases on the outbreak of war; what proportion, in each case, the requisitioned beds represent of the total beds available; and what compensating provision of beds has been made elsewhere in each case?

Mr. Elliot

No beds were taken over or requisitioned for casualty cases. Before the war an estimate was made of the number of beds which could be made available at each institution in the scheme by relying on the beds normally empty, by sending home convalescent patients and by transferring others to simpler accommodation, and in many cases additional beds were supplied by the Government for use in the event of an emergency. The bed-state returns made to me daily since the outbreak of war do not enable me to say which of the beds actually vacant at any institution represent the existing beds freed for the reception of casualties and which the additional beds supplied by the Government. I cannot therefore give figures in the form in which the hon. Member asks for them.

In the aggregate, however, 110,000 out of the 170,000 vacant beds in hospitals rendering returns are additional beds supplied by the Government and 60,000 are the original beds, including those which would have been empty in any case, and the additional beds are being steadily increased as hutted accommodation is completed. In the same hospitals the number of beds occupied by the sick is shown in their returns as 156,000, and the vacant beds are available if necessary for the sick requiring in-patient treatment as well as for casualties. In maternity hospitals no beds have been regarded as reserved for casualties, and the casualty accommodation in mental hospitals has been provided entirely by beds supplied by the Government.

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