§ 31. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his Department's estimate of the number of hospital beds within the present hospital building programme.
§ 51. Mr. Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the capital building programme in the National Health Service.
§ Mrs. Currie
The current National Health Service building programme in England comprises over 400 schemes, each costing over £1 million, at various stages of planning, design and construction. Of these, about 110 schemes are planned for completion over the next three years. The total cost of the programme, including fees and equipment, is about £3 billion and it will provide over 21,500 new hospital beds.
The programme includes new hospitals which will meet health care needs in new towns and other centres of expanding population such as Milton Keynes, Telford and Bournemouth. At St. Mary's Paddington and Manchester royal infirmary new facilities will replace obsolete and inefficient buildings dating back to the last century. Other smaller schemes will provide accommodation in the community for the elderly, mentally ill and handicapped patients to enable them to be cared for near their homes and families.
The modern hospitals coming into operation are more economical to run than those they replace. Close attention to planning procedures and the use of the nucleus standard design, developed by the Department, have largely eliminated the escalating costs and late completions which held up the building programme in the past.