§ Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contingency provisions he has made or is contemplating to avoid bed closures and other temporary closures of hospital facilities during Christmas and winter of the current year.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
It is for health authorities to decide how health services should be provided to meet local needs and priorities within the resources allocated by the Government.
§ Ms. Gordon
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new district general hospitals have been built or approved in principle in the last 10 years; what was their size in area and in bed provision; and what is the population of the health districts they serve.381W
§ Mr. Freeman
District general hospitals are normally developed on a phased basis, each phase or scheme being the subject of a separate approval in principle submission and construction contract. Information held centrally is not therefore in the form requested and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate expense. I have, however, placed in the Library of the House a list of 482 schemes costing over £1 million completed or approved in principle since 1 January 1980, giving the number of beds in each case. (There is some undercounting because(a) before 1986 information was only collected on schemes over £2 million and (b) central records for 1980–82 are incomplete). Information on the population of health districts is set out in OPCS Monitor PP1/89/1. However hospitals often treat patients from outside their own district boundaries.