Building Programme

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th July 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West 12:00 am, 6th July 1964

asked the Minister of Health what was the total amount of the decrease in the financial content of the hospital building programme 1963 to 1974 shown by the latest revision, as compared with the programme previously agreed for the North-West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board; what schemes have now been excluded until the period 1970 to 1974; and what schemes were originally included in the period up to 1972–73, but are now deferred beyond 1974.

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

The financial content of the hospital building programme for this region has not been decreased, as implied in the hon. Member's Question. On the contrary, this year's revision shows an increase for the region of £8 million compared with what was originally proposed. As I have already explained, with changes in priorities, involving the development of new projects in the national programme and the bringing forward and the enlargement of others, it has been necessary, despite an increased hospital programme in real terms, to defer some schemes. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of those schemes suggested as likely to start within the original ten-year programme but now beyond it and expected to start before the end of the ten-year programme of the revised plan. I will also circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the schemes referred to in the last part of the Question.

Many schemes now differ considerably in scope from what was earlier envisaged, and are likely to change further.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

How can the Minister reconcile the figures which he has given with the figures from last year's revision, £66·5 million being reduced in this year's revision to £48·5 million, which, according to my reckoning, is a cut of £18 million in the financial content? Can the right hon. Gentleman say how it is that a number of the deferred schemes which are for out-dated and antiquated hospitals, which we had expected, before the plan presented by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell), would be started by 1966, are now to deferred until after 1975? Does the Conservative Party mean by a 10-year plan a 10-year deferment of things which were to happen earlier?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

If the hon. Gentleman looks at the Answer which I have given, he will agree that my figure of an increase of £8 million as between the two programmes is correct. As regards his second point, all I can say is that it was made abundantly clear by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West when he introduced the Hospital Plan, and it is, in fact, specified in the plan itself, that the estimates made in the preparation of the plan were tentative and might have to be modified considerably when the detailed schedules of accommodation came to be prepared. It was never intended to be a rigid plan, and I do not doubt that in the future, as in the past, there will be further modifications as priorities change. This is inevitable. What is important is that this is an expanding plan, a plan which is growing significantly not only in money terms but in real terms.

Following are the details:

North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board

Schemes suggested as likely to start within the original programme, but now beyond it and expected to start before the end of the ten-year programme of the revised plan:

  • Wexham Park Hospital—second phase.
  • Edgware General Hospital—new ward block.
  • Ashford Hospital—first phase of major redevelopment.
  • Whittington Hospital—first phase of redevelopment.

Schemes included in the programme following the first revision and which are now likely to start some time after 1974:

  • Hillingdon Hospital—second phase of redevelopment.
  • Luton and Dunstable Hospital—second phase of redevelopment.
  • King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor—first phase of redevelopment.
  • Royal Northern Hospital—first phase of redevelopment.
  • Shrodells Hospital, Watford—first phase of major redevelopment.
  • Barnet General Hospital—first phase of redevelopment and engineering services.
  • Central Middlesex Hospital—first phase of redevelopment.
  • Paddington General Hospital—first phase of redevelopment.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

asked the Minister of Health what is the total reduction in expenditure on the South-West of England Regional Hospital Board's hospital building programme for 1963–64 revealed by the latest revision; what schemes have now been excluded until the period 1970–74; and what schemes originally included in the period up to 1972–73 have now been deferred beyond 1974.

Photo of Mr William Wilkins Mr William Wilkins , Bristol South

asked the Minister of Health what is the total amount of the decrease in the financial content of the hospital building programme, 1963 to 1974, shown by the latest revision, as compared with the programme previously agreed for the South-Western Regional Hospital Board; which schemes in the programme have now been postponed until the period 1970 to 1974; and which of the schemes originally planned to be commenced or completed prior to those dates have now been deferred beyond 1974.

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

The financial content of the hospital building programme for this region has not been decreased, as implied in the hon. Members' Questions. On the contrary, this year's revision shows an increase for the region of £11 million compared with what was originally proposed.

As I have previously explained, with changes in priorities, involving the development of new projects in the national programme and the bringing forward and the enlargement of others, it has been necessary, despite an increased hospital programme in real terms, to defer some schemes. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of those schemes suggested as likely to start within the original ten-year programme but now beyond it and expected to start before the end of the ten-year programme of the revised plan.

I will also circulate details of those schemes which were planned to start before 1974 and which are now likely to start later.

Many schemes now differ considerably in scope from what was earlier envisaged, and are likely to change further.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

Will the Minister look again at the replies which he gave me last Wednesday to questions about Redruth, Tehidy and Budock Hospitals and take into account that these hospitals are likely to be needed for as far ahead as can be seen? Will he ask the regional hospital board to take this into account when making plans for the future?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

I am sure that the regional hospital board, as I shall, will always take into account what the hon. Gentleman suggests, but I must point out that, even though this is a programme which is expanding considerably in real terms, it is necessary to look at the priorities.

Photo of Mr William Wilkins Mr William Wilkins , Bristol South

Having regard to the Minister's reply to me in the debate on 11th June, which is reported in Col. 718 of HANSARD of that date, and in the light of his statement now that the programme has been expanded by £11 million—which, I presume, is to be over the next ten years—will the right hon. Gentleman consider publishing in HANSARD, in furtherance of the reply which he gave to me, information about where in the various regions the 20 new or substantially remodelled hospitals referred to in the Conservative Party's statement are to come? The right hon. Gentleman spoke of more than 19, so I presume that there are to be 20 new hospitals this year.

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

I am always ready to provide what information I can. If the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question, I shall do my best to oblige him. The point is that, while we all regret that, from time to time, certain projects have to be deferred, with changes in priorities, what really matters is the overall financial content of the programme. It is relevant to bear in mind in this connection, particularly from the point of view of hon. Members opposite, that the "shadow" Chancellor, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), has made perfectly clear that the present hospital programme, as he put it, could not be exceeded by any party with any degree of responsibility."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th March, 1964; Vol. 691, c. 477.] In face of that statement, to go round the country, as some Labour spokesmen are doing—[HON. MEMBERS: "Come off it."]—pretending that a Labour Government would do more is sheer dishonesty.

Mr. G. Wilson:

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the hospital programme is a rolling programme so that at any time during the next ten years, if priorities vary or medical needs vary, it will be possible to alter it?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

That is so. That is the whole purpose of having annual revisions.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

In view of the vast number of major schemes which were included in last year's ten-year programme but which have been excluded from this year's ten-year programme, how can the Minister talk about a plan expanding in real terms? If he is interested in dishonesty, will he consider withdrawing that remark?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

Certainly not. The plan is expanding in real terms, as the hon. Gentleman knows only too well. We spent more last year than we spent in the previous year, we are spending more this year, and we shall spend more next year. The overall plan for the next ten years involves an increase in real terms of no less than £160 million as compared with the finance which was assumed in the original plan. Of course, priorities change. The hon. Gentleman talks about the dishonesty of this year's revision. He knows very well that in this year's revision there are pages of new schemes which are brought into the plan for the first time. This very year we are starting projects which will provide enough maternity beds for an additional 45,000 confinements a year. If the hon. Gentleman considers that a larger programme—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."]—is irresponsible, and he objects to the deferments which I have announced and of which he knows, let him tell the House frankly which of the new schemes he would cut out.

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the length and tenor of that last answer, which was a speech, not an answer, will you consider whether, in equity, we were entitled to a reply from this side?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I shall consider all those things, but, at the moment, let us have another Question.

Following are the details:

South Western Regional Hospital Board

Schemes suggested as likely to start within the original programme but now beyond it and expected to start before the end of the ten-year programme of the revised plan:

  • New district general hospital at Barnstaple—second phase.
  • New West Somerset Hospital at Lyngford—first phase.

New hospital in South Bristol—first phase. Schemes planned to start before 1974 and which are now likely to start later:

  • New geriatric hospital at Devizes.
  • Geriatric and maternity accommodation at Okehampton.
  • New psychiatric hospital for West Cornwall.
  • Gloucestershire Royal Hospital—further phase of redevelopment.
  • Frenchay Hospital—new ward block.
  • New West Somerset Hospital at Lyngford—second phase.
  • Replacement of Mary Stanley Maternity Home, Bridgwater.
  • New hospital at Derriford—second phase.
  • New hospital at Penzance.
  • New geriatric unit to replace Sedgemoor Priory, St. Austell.