§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the latest estimate of the annual running costs of the new Telford hospital; how these will be met; what savings are to be made under which headings; and how much will be provided by the West Midlands regional health authority;
(2) what resources will be provided by his Department to meet the running costs of the new Telford hospital;
(3) what closures are to be made and what will be the resulting savings to enable the new Telford hospital to be built.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The West Midlands regional health authority estimates that the annual running costs of the new Telford hospital will be £8.5 million. This will be found from the authority's revenue allocation to the Shropshire health authority. Over the next two or three years Shropshire health authority will be developing a strategy for the district, including the funding of Telford hospital. The consultative document issued last October was the first step, but further discussion with medical staff and the Shropshire community health council and public debate will be required before firm proposals are made about closures and the savings they will generate.
All the resources involved are provided by taxpayers. Our Department allocates funds to the West Midlands regional health authority on the basis of our assessment of its needs relative to the rest of the country and the RHA in turn allocates revenue to the Shropshire health authority on the basis of a fair assessment of its needs relative to the rest of the region. Local discussions in Shropshire have at times involved rather artificial debates about how much money "comes" from the Department, the region and the district.