asked the Minister of Pensions what will be the cost of effecting the proposed removal of the hospital at Shepherd's Bush for orthopædic surgical treatment to Richmond hutment hospital; whether the lease of Richmond hutment hospital is a short one; whether the same cost will be incurred to effect another transfer; and, if so, where?
Lieut. - Colonel SPENDER CLAY:18.
asked the Minister of Pensions what number of patients now under treatment at the hospital at Shepherd's Bush will have to be transferred if the proposed removal of this hospital to the South African hutment hospital at Richmond is effected; what break in the continuity of treatment, both for in- and out-patients, the removal will involve; whether the transfer is proposed for the better treatment of the patients; and if the consulting orthopædic surgeon has been approached and agreed that the patients will not suffer in any way?
The sole reason for this removal is the urgent necessity for public economy. I could not justify the retention of the buildings at Shepherd's Bush at the enormous rental demanded, i.e., £14,000, without security of tenure, when a Government hospital in more pleasant surroundings in Richmond Park was at my disposal, rent free. The question of removal, therefore, did not resolve itself into a purely medical one. The medical staff would naturally prefer to remain in a building associated with so unique a standard of surgical efficiency. But I have no doubt that the transference of the staff and the equipment to Richmond will be in no way detrimental to the interests of the patients. It is not possible at this date to state the exact number of patients that will have to be transferred when the removal takes place towards the end of next month. I understand from my Noble Friend the First Commissioner of Works that the estimate of the cost of removal and adaptation is not likely to exceed one half-year's rent that would have to be paid at Shepherd's Bush. There is no lease of the Richmond Park Hospital, but my Noble Friend has agreed to its retention for at least two years, rent free.