asked the Minister of Health whether he will draw the attention of regional hospital boards and hospital management committees to the fact that Sections 59 and 60 of the National Health Service Act permit funds received by them by way of donations or bequests to be used for the provision of additional facilities or accommodation; and if he will take appropriate steps to encourage them in the formation of voluntary committees for the purpose of stimulating the collection of funds on a local basis for such purposes.
I am sure that all boards and committees are well aware of their powers in relation to non-Exchequer funds and of the value of encouraging local voluntary help like that given by Leagues of Friends.
Although the boards themselves may be aware of it, does my right hon. and learned Friend realise that there is a great deal of misconception among the public generally—in which, I have to admit, I myself shared—in regard to the potential use of funds voluntarily donated to hospitals? Will he take prompt measures to dispel any such misconceptions so that funds from voluntary subscriptions can be tapped in the way they were tapped in the past, before the Health Service came in?
The purposes for which non-Exchequer funds held by hospital authorities can be used are defined in the National Health Service Act. In addition, there have been several memoranda of guidance which have made it clear that non-Exchequer funds as well as Exchequer funds may be used for capital works.