HC Deb 25 June 1976 vol 913 cc462-3W
Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received and what answers have been made by his Department to any adverse comments or criticisms in respect of the new "nucleus" hospital design; and if he will make a statement on the main features, advantages and characteristics claimed for this design.

Dr. Owen

The nucleus design is a response to the planning requirements of the present day; in particular, to plan within present resources, to make maximum use of existing buildings and to limit the size of new buildings to those which can be contained within short contract periods. Thus, the design envisages a hospital the first phase of which will contain about 300 beds and be capable of planned expansion ultimately to 600–900 beds. A choice of content will be provided to meet differing planning priorities. All economy in capital and running costs is being sought consistent with acceptable standards of service to the patient.

As a result of discussions on the design work some alterations have been made to the evolving designs in accordance with the consensus of opinions expressed. Discussions will continue as design work proceeds.

I attach great importance to this standardised design. By adopting it, maximum use will be made of resources; total planning time will be reduced; and National Health Service authorities will receive design material based on experience gained from the substantial development work of the past.