Would my right hon. Friend not agree that there are a number of patients whose recovery would be hastened if they were able to obtain an amenity bed? Would he not also agree that because of the tremendous shortage of these beds, such patients are often forced to obtain private beds at considerable cost? Will not he do something to make an increasing number of amenity beds available, especially in the big teaching hospitals?
The present practice, which I think is right, is to provide amenity beds to meet the demand where this is possible without detriment to the number of beds in single rooms or small wards which are normally required by patients on medical grounds. Wards in new hospitals planned in accordance with the Hospital Building Notes will have an adequate provision of single rooms and small wards to permit the designation of amenity beds.