No new hospital has been completed in its final form. Five are partly completed and in use, but as there are to be later stages the final cost is not yet known; and work has started on nine others.
A considerable measure of agreement has now been reached on the sketch plans of the first phase of the new area hospital at Truro, but I cannot say at present when building work is likely to start.
It has been "cooking" for some time, but the effective timetable dates from 1955, when the project was one of those announced by my right hon. Friend the present Minister of Labour. It may help the hon. Gentleman if I say that a meeting with the board and the hospital management committee took place in February, when a considerable measure of agreement was reached and when a number of points were left to the board to consider in the preparation of what, it is hoped, will be the final sketch plan. Perhaps we can dispense with the astrologer on that.
As the House has heard my hon. Friend putting a similar Question frequently over the last few years and has heard the hon. Gentleman make precisely the same Answer, why can the hon. Gentleman not tell the House exactly what is wrong in this part of Cornwall and why it has taken all these years to get through the preliminary phase of getting this hospital?
The hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) may resent the suggestion that anything is wrong in this part of Cornwall. However, there have been exceptional difficulties with the phasing of this major scheme. It is that which has engaged the attention of the authorities concerned, but I assure the hon. Lady that we are doing our utmost to give early approval.