Newcastle

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th December 1954.

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Photo of Mr William Owen Mr William Owen , Morpeth 12:00 am, 13th December 1954

asked the Minister of Health whether he will increase the capital allocation for the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board in the next financial year.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

asked the Minister of Health if he will now increase the amount allocated to the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board for hospital capital projects.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

As I informed the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop) on 6th December, I am not in a position to do this for 1955–56.

Photo of Mr William Owen Mr William Owen , Morpeth

Is the Minister aware that this is a matter which really does require some special consideration, and is he prepared to review the matter?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I am reviewing it tomorrow morning, when I meet a deputation from the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board.

Photo of Mr George Chetwynd Mr George Chetwynd , Stockton-on-Tees

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much the actual allocation falls short of the estimate?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

No, not without notice.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

Is the Minister also considering any representations made from the Newcastle teaching hospitals as well as from the Board?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, at the same time.

Photo of Mr William Owen Mr William Owen , Morpeth

asked the Minister of Health what the degree of overcrowding is in the mental and mental-deficiency hospital in the Newcastle Regional Hospital Board's area; and how this compares with the average throughout the country.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

35·3 per cent. in the mental hospitals and 28·9 per cent. in the mental-deficiency hospitals of the region at the end of 1953. The comparable national averages were 15·7 per cent. and 12·4 per cent.

Photo of Mr William Owen Mr William Owen , Morpeth

Will the Minister recognise, on the basis of the figures that he has now submitted, that there is an urgent need for capital grant to enable this needful social service to be provided for the people concerned?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, I agree at once. Indeed, it is just because of that that the Newcastle Region has been given rather more than twice the allocation out of the "mental million" compared with what it would have received on an ordinary basis of population proportion. I am most conscious of the need in the Newcastle area.

Photo of Mr Hilary Marquand Mr Hilary Marquand , Middlesbrough East

Can the right hon. Gentleman hazard any estimate of what improvement in this percentage might be effected by the new building which is authorised?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

There is a great deal of building, especially for mental deficiency work, in what we can call the "pipeline" at the moment, but I do not think that one could make an estimate of the effect that would have on percentage overcrowding, because it depends, for one thing, on the rate at which patients are cured.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

asked the Minister of Health the number and total value of hospital capital projects costing over £100,000 started in the years 1953–54 and 1954–55, and proposed to be started in 1955–56; and which of these projects are located in the Newcastle Regional Board area.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

In 1953–54 four such projects were started, with an estimated total value of £1½ million. In the current year 13 have been started so far, with an estimated total value of £2·8 million. I so far know of 12 further projects, estimated to cost £2·2 million, which are likely to start between now and the end of 1955–56, but programmes for 1955–56 are not yet available and these may include other projects of this order to be started in that year. Two of the 29 projects mentioned, estimated to cost a little over £540,000, are in the Newcastle region.

Photo of Mr Arthur Blenkinsop Mr Arthur Blenkinsop , Newcastle upon Tyne East

Is the Minister aware that there is a very strong feeling in the North-East Region, especially on Tyneside, that that area has been considerably neglected in the past? While I know some of the difficulties involved, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman will do his best to ensure not only that urgently needed capital projects are proceeded with, but that there is sufficient revenue expenditure to see that they get going?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

So far as Newcastle is concerned, I think that what matters is not the share in any particular sector, but the total share of the capital allocation. As I have said before in this House, Newcastle's share, while it may be inadequate for the need, is, in proportion, quite high when compared with other regions in the country.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Test

Will the Minister give special consideration to proposals for the improvement of heating in hospitals, because in the long run that will be an economy?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, I am aware of that. We have a number of schemes in connection with the amalgamation of boilers, which we are trying to get on with as soon as we can.