§ Mr. Shersby
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on the progress of discussions with the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association; and to what extent the dispute between members of the association and her Department is affecting the availability of operating facilities at Hillingdon Hospital.
§ Mrs. Castle
Since the exchange of letters with the association referred to in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) on 25th April—[Vol. 890, c.416–7]—there has been further correspondence, copies of which I am arranging to have placed in the Library. I regret that the association has not so far recommended that its members withdraw sanctions which can serve no useful purpose and can only be detrimental to the interests of patients.
I understand that at Hillingdon Hospital the dispute has resulted in an estimated reduction in the number of patients undergoing operations of 8 per cent. in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 1974.