§ Mr. Peter Rees
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans there are for building hospitals for infectious diseases in the South-East; and at what cost.
§ Dr. Owen
The only such hospital is the replacement for the demolished smallpox isolation unit at Long Reach, Dartford, following expert medical advice that replacement would be essential. Foundation work has started on a site near the old unit. I hope that smallpox will shortly be eradicated, as forecast by the World Health Organisation. However, I am advised that facilities will have to remain available to deal with other dangerous communicable disease. The estimated total cost of the new unit is £856,000.