§ Mr. George Gardiner
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in the discussions to transfer responsibility to Tadworth court children's hospital from the Great Ormond street group to the Tadworth court trust; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Earlier this year my right hon. Friend announced his agreement to a proposal from a group of charities under which they would assume responsibility for running Tadworth court hospital, Surrey as an alternative to the closure proposal put forward by its present managers, the board of governors of the hospitals for sick children. — [Vol. 39, c.48–50.] Since then negotiations have taken place between the newly-formed Tadworth court trust—representing the charities—the board of governors and the Department to enable the management of the hospital to be transferred from the 613W board to the trust. These negotiations have not been easy, and I can understand the concern felt by many people, particularly the Tadworth staff, at the length of time that has been required.
Recent press reports have highlighted a disagreement between the board and the trust over the, amount of land to be leased to the trust. I am pleased to say that I have now authorised a settlement under which approximately 30 per cent. of the total site will be leased to the trust at a peppercorn rent, subject to parliamentary approval. The remaining land will be sold and the substantial proceeds made available to the board of governors for capital developments at its hospitals. The land allotted to the trust will then give it scope for adjusting the pattern of services at Tadworth in the light of experience gained during the initial period of operation.
The board of governors has agreed to provide a rotational registrar post at Tadworth on secondment to the trust. The future non-medical staffing of Tadworth will be the responsibility of the trust. I hope it will be able to put forward firm proposals for staffing very soon.
Substantial progress has been made in preparing for the transfer of management responsibility. I now look to all the parties involved to complete the outstanding action and arrange a handover at the earliest possible date.