Two hundred and eleven such schemes were included in hospital boards' approved estimates for 1956–57. I regret that the information asked for in the second part of the Question is not available.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction in the hospital world because of the long delay between the approval of a scheme and the ability to start actual work on it? Will he give consideration to whether something cannot be done in his Department to speed up matters accordingly?
Anything that can be done in my Department to speed matters will most certainly be done. I think the hon. Gentleman will find that the time which is taken between authorisation and the actual physical work of building is occupied by such matters as getting out the plans, detailed working drawings, bills of quantity, tendering, and so on, each of which in the case of some of these large schemes is inevitably a fairly elaborate procedure.