HC Deb 22 November 1977 vol 939 cc666-7W
59. Dr. Vaughan

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the closure of London hospitals.

Mr. Ennals

In the next few years a number of hospitals in London will need to close or change their use either because new provision has removed the need for existing facilities or because service needs have altered due to population movement or changes in clinical practice. There is also a need to rationalise services in such a way that resources can be freed to help localities which are in need and at the same time to give greater priority to community services and to services for the elderly, the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped. All this needs to be done without putting major services at risk and without damaging the major contribution which London hospitals make in the teaching of medical, dental and other students. Regional and area health authorities are considering these issues in the development of their plans. Proposals to close or change the use of hospitals are subject to full local consultation. Where community health councils object, such proposals must be referred to me. I shall not approve any closure or change of use unless I am satisfied that there is an adequate service for the patients concerned and that other interests are adequately safeguarded.