HL Deb 25 January 1961 vol 227 cc1298-300WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are now in a position to make a further statement about their hospital building scheme.


Yes. The Minister of Health is introducing new methods to facilitate the planning and execution of an expanding programme. He has recently given guidance to Hospital Boards which will enable them for the first Time to make long-term plans and has asked them to submit to him by May 31 their proposals for work to be started by 1970–71. The provisional figure for hospital capital expenditure in 1962–63, subject to the economic situation, and the voting by Parliament of the necessary money, is £36 million, compared with £31 million for next year, 1961–62. While no firm commitments can be entered into by the Government at this stage and while the phasing cannot yet be determined, the Minister has given Regional Hospital Boards tentative planning limits based on an expenditure rising to about £50 million by 1965–66. He has asked that proposals for subsequent years should be prepared on an estimate of what is needed and practicable.

He has also made regulations raising from £30,000 to £60,000 the maximum cost of individual projects which Hospital Boards can undertake without his prior authority. The first of a series of Building Notes giving guidance on hospital planning and on the design of hospital departments was published on January 23 and others will follow rapidly. These and an associated system of cost limits will simplify and expedite the planning of schemes by Boards and their examination and approval by the Minister. In future, when a scheme is approved in principle, a starting-date will be given, so that Hospital Boards will be able to carry through the planning and execution in the knowledge that the project will not subsequently be held up.

The Minister has asked Hospital Boards to complete the planning of a number of additional major schemes. These include new general hospitals at Basildon, Stevenage and Abergavenny and a long-stay geriatric hospital at Pontypridd, the first phase of a new hospital at Exeter and the second phase of the new Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester. Other large developments will be a new ward block at Hammersmith Hospital; substantial redevelopment of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle; new casualty and out-patient departments at Burton-on-Trent; maternity departments at Copthorne Hospital, Shrewsbury and at the George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton; a new radiotherapy centre in Bristol and the completion of the radiotherapy centre at Clatterbridge, Cheshire. Developments at St. Luke's Hospital, Huddersfield, will provide geriatric and psychiatric beds.

There will be modernisation and extension of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, and the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, and the first phase of a reorganisation of the Portsmouth Hospitals. Further phases of development are authorised at the Victoria Hospital. Blackpool, Sharoe Green Hospital, Preston, the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Reading, High Wycombe Memorial Hospital and the Orsett branch of the Tilbury and Riverside General Hospital.

There are a number of large mental hospital schemes. These are, for subnormal patients, a new hospital at Fulbourn, the completion of the Prudhoe and Monckton Hospital, and modernisation and extension of the Grenoside, Aughton Court, Thundercliffe Grange and Whittington Hall Hospitals in the Sheffield hospital region. A medium-stay psychiatric unit will be provided as part of the new Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool.

These schemes, with those previously announced, complete the list of major schemes expected to be started by 1964–65. The Minister intends to give specific starting-dates to all of them as soon as possible.

House adjourned at eight o'clock.