§ Mr. Lomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on the NUPE dispute at Westminster Hospital.
§ Mrs. Castle
I am glad to say that, following the intervention of the Advisory, 193W Counciliation and Arbitration Service on 20th March, the dispute at the Westminster Hospital has now been resolved and that domestic and catering staff who withdrew services from the private wards on 17th March have resumed normal working.
I understand that the area health authority confirmed to the representatives of the staff concerned that unoccupied pay beds are available for use by National Health Service patients when required on medical grounds; guaranteed that at least three of these private beds would not be filled by routine cases before 6th April, and may be available for National Health Service patients, and agreed to reopen on 26th March 14 of the 38 National Health Service beds it had originally been intended should remain closed until 6th April in order to enable nursing staff to take leave due to them and to facilitate internal works. The beds to be reopened are all at the Gordon Hospital.