asked the Minister of Health whether the promised review of the possibility of using parts of the new hospital at Lindley, Huddersfield, before the whole building has been completed, has now been carried out; whether this review has included consideration of the use of the hospital for the treatment of patients and not only for ancillary purposes such as a laundry; and whether, in making this review, account has been taken of the urgency due to overcrowding at the Royal Infirmary, Huddersfield.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for years Huddersfield has been suffering from a very serious shortage of surgical and medical beds and that the overcrowding at the Royal Infirmary has been acute for a long time? I will send him a letter which I have just received from a number of patients at the Royal Infirmary pointing out how serious the overcrowding is. As regards the partial use of the new Lindley Hospital pending completion, may I ask when we shall get some definite information on this and to what extent it will relieve pressure on the Royal Infirmary? Incidentally, when will the new hospital be completed?
I cannot put a date to this. I think that I have told the hon. Member before that the board is considering the possibility of using parts of the new hospital before the whole hospital is completed. The hospital management committee is in agreement with this. I am aware of the difficulties in Huddersfield, but to do what the hon. Member has been asking us to do for some time would mean that the Royal Infirmary would still have to be used, resulting in a fragmented service to the public, a divided staff, and two lots of overheads. It is not an easy matter. By 1966, Huddersfield will have one of the earliest and finest new district general hospitals in the country.