Blaenavon Hospital

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1973.

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Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool 12:00 am, 23rd July 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received protesting against the proposals to close the Blaenavon Hospital.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

My right hon. and learned Friend has received none. The Welsh Hospital Board is now obtaining the views of the public before submitting proposals to the Welsh Office.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

The Minister can be assured that he will receive many representations from the whole of the township of Blaenavon. Will he bear in mind that it is a township which has a disproportionate number of old people and a disproportionate number of old houses lacking facilities, and that if the local hospital were taken away elderly people who need short-stay support when they are ill would be in great difficulty, since they are the sort of people who would never obtain priority for being admitted to the hospital at Abergavenny? There is deep concern in the area that no precipitate steps should be taken to close the hospital, which was the prototype for the whole of the National Health Service.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I understand the hon. Gentleman's feelings about this problem and I am sure that the Welsh Hospital Board will look at the problem as sympathetically as possible.

Photo of Mr Neil Kinnock Mr Neil Kinnock , Bedwellty

Does not the Minister as a sensible man agree that it would be ridiculous to close Blaenavon Hospital and other hospitals in north Monmouthshire before suitable alternative hospital accomodation is provided? Until suitable position can be made available, should he not implement the recommendation put to his Government and the Labour Government to site the district hospital in West Monmouthshire?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I cannot add to what I have said to the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse). I certainly understand his problem. I am sympathetic and I am sure that the Welsh Hospital Board is too.