§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what are the current waiting times for beds in the wards facing closure in Sefton general hospital, Liverpool;
(2) if he will make a statement on the proposed ward closures at Sefton general hospital, Liverpool and on the long term future of the hospital.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
The Liverpool health authority is considering measures to reduce its expenditure by over £1.5 million in this financial year, in order to stay within its cash limit. The authority has given general approval to a package of economy measures, including reducing the number of beds at Sefton general hospital, some of which, especially surgical back-up beds for the Royal Liverpool hospital, are under-utilised. No decision has yet been taken on which beds and wards will be affected, so that it is not possible to give waiting list figures. Before permanent and substantial variations in service can be made, public consultation must be undertaken. The long-term future of Sefton general hospital is at this stage a matter for the health authority, but I am not aware that any of the measures under consideration affect that future.