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Maternity Cases, Cardiff

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Minister of Health (1) what reply he has sent to the letter he received from the Cardiff Health Committee concerning the shortage in the number of hospital beds available for maternity cases in the city; and whether he will make a statement;

(2) the number of hospital beds in Cardiff that are available for maternity cases, and the number that are occupied by people resident outside the city boundaries; and whether, in view of the fact that the number of hospital beds available for confinement cases in Cardiff compares unfavourably with the rest of the country, he will give attention to this matter.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that it is necessary for the maternity hospitals in Cardiff to provide a substantial number of beds for persons not resident in the city, and for that reason the number of beds now existing is inadequate; and if he will reconsider the matter with a view to increasing the number of hospital beds for maternity cases.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

In replying to the Health Committee, my right hon. and learned Friend has pointed out that the available information suggests that 137 out of 205 maternity beds in Cardiff are available to Cardiff residents, or 0·541 per 1,000 population, which, as he informed the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) on 27th April last, is a higher and not a lower ratio than the national figures. He also pointed out that the position would be reviewed in the light of the recommendations of the Cranbrook Committee.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Is the Minister aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction in Cardiff with the reply, which was considered misleading, which he gave to my hon. Friend, who, no doubt, will want to pursue the matter himself? How long will it take to complete the review to which the Minister now refers? The local health authority is deeply anxious at the shortage of these beds available?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

A memorandum will be sent out to the Welsh Regional Hospital Board, as to other hospital boards, asking it to review the needs of the area for maternity beds in the light of the Cranbrook Report. That will be done without delay.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Is not the hon. Gentleman ignoring the point made to him in correspondence from the hospital board that Cardiff has to provide a number of beds to people who are not resident in the city, that they come from outside the city and, therefore, the ratio given by the hon. Gentleman to show that we have a more favourable ratio then generally is not accurate if one takes into account the number of people outside the city for whom beds have to be provided?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

That is a perfectly fair point, but Cardiff is not in a unique situation in raising that kind of objection.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Warrington

As the Cranbrook Committee recommended that 70 per cent. of deliveries should take place in hospital, how does the hon. Gentleman reconcile the figures he has given with the number of deliveries?

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

I was not asked to do so, but, as I said in an earlier reply to the hon. Gentleman, the memorandum which we are sending out to the Welsh Regional Hospital Board is drawing its attention to this whole matter, and we must see what it thinks fit to say about it.