§ The Countess of Mar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will give the location and number of beds available within the West Midlands Regional Health Authority area for the early admission of cancer patients for assessment and treatment by radiotherapy; and whether they regard this provision as reasonable in view of the closure of 20 beds in the oncology unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Lord Skelmersdale)
The provision of beds for cancer patients, as for other acute specialties, is a matter for regional and district health authorities. The noble Countess may therefore wish to write to the Chairman of the West Midlands Regional Health Authority for the information she seeks. The closure of 20 oncology beds at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a temporary measure as part of a package of savings to enable Central Birmingham Health Authority to stay within its cash limit. If the health authority wanted to close the beds permanently, this procedures. If the community health council objected to the closure, the proposal could only be effected with the agreement of the regional health authority and Ministers. At that stage we would clearly want to consider the level of provision elsewhere in the region before reaching a decision.