Wessex Regional Hospital Board

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16 June 1958.

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Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen 12:00, 16 June 1958

asked the Minister of Health if he is yet in a position to fix a date on which the Western Area of the South-West Metropolitan Region will become a separate Wessex Regional Hospital Board.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

As I said in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. J. Eden) on 13th June, I intend that the date shall be 1st April next, and I am taking the necessary steps to bring the new region and regional hospital board into being on that date.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Is the Minister aware that on both sides of the House hon. Members from the Western Area are very glad to know that he decided to do last Friday what we have been asking him to do for a long time? His decision to make the area into a separate board will give tremendous satisfaction to all who have worked in the Western Area to build up an efficient National Health Service. They will be very grateful to him.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I am very grateful in my turn for what the hon. Member has been good enough to say.

Photo of Mr John Morrison Mr John Morrison , Salisbury

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that those on this side of the House are particularly grateful for his help in this matter, which has caused universal pleasure to all those concerned in the area?

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

Before he made this decision, did my right hon. and learned Friend consult the South-Western Board and also opinion in the neighbouring areas, particularly in South Somerset and the northern part of Dorset?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

Yes, Sir, this decision was taken after examination over a period, as indicated by the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King). In the light of all the relevant circumstances, locally and nationally, I think we have come to the right decision.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

asked the Minister of Health what would be the approximate annual extra cost of making the Western Area of the South-West Metropolitan Hospital Board a separate board.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) on 10th March.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Is the Minister aware that there is some dispute between his advisers and the members of the Western Area as to the amount of actual expense involved, and it is the belief of the Western Area that the gain made to the South-Western Metropolitan Hospital Board may offset the extra expense involved in setting up the new administration?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

Yes, the estimate I gave in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester is an estimate of the ultimate additional cost based on the cost of comparable regions of similar size, such as the Oxford Region and the East Anglian Region. I very much hope that the estimate will prove to be excessive, and I shall certainly expect the new board to keep its costs down to a minimum.