§ Lord Mayhew
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they favour reinstating a medically-based spa in Bath.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Lord Glenarthur)
Medical opinion is largely agreed about the value of hydrotherapy as a form of remedial treatment and most British doctors consider that it is334WA equally beneficial whether provided in tap water or spa water. It is the exercises themselves, performed in water of a special temperature, under the supervision of a qualified therapist, and not the characteristics of the water, which are therapeutic. There appears to be no clinincal evidence of any advantage in spa water as such hydrotherapy, nor of any effectiveness in preventing or curing any illness in any of its various applications.
In the light of prevailing medical views we would not initiate any reinstatement of the Bath Spa. This is very much a matter for the Bath District Health Authority who already provide hydrotherapy within the district for those patients for whom it has been prescribed. Bath has a centre of excellence in rheumatology at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. Our understnding is that the authority has no plans to develop additional hydrotherapy facilities by reinstating the spa.