Is the Minister aware, as it was confirmed in writing to me some time ago, that as he has no plans to build the second phase at Bronglais Hospital many members of the staff and people in Mid-Wales in particular are worried about the future of this hospital? Is he aware that many believe that small cottage hospitals in Mid-Wales may be closed and that he ought not to concentrate all efforts on Carmarthen, Wrexham and elsewhere in the area?
Let me dispel that fear. In the decades ahead there will be a place in the strategy for Wales for the community hospital or cottage hospital. At Bronglais Hospital ideally there should be a phase two, but we are in difficult financial times and the advice that the area health authority gives is that it has a different order of priorities.
As the Dyfed Area Health Authority receives almost the smallest allocation of resources per head of population in the United Kingdom, will the Under-Secretary examine urgently ways of correcting this situation so that the area health authority can meet the needs of the people that it serves?
The health authorities in Wales are on the point of reallocating their recources, in discussion with the Department and myself, and in the financial year ahead there may well be some changes. However, I would not want the hon. Gentleman to give the impression to the House or to Dyfed or anywhere else in Wales that Dyfed was receiving anything less than its fair share.
As Bronglais is one of the hospitals which serves the population in the southern part of Merioneth, may I congratulate the Secretary of State on his decision to invest more capital resources in the Wrexham area, which also serves Merioneth? In the future development of district general hospitals, will he ensure that the Welsh Office pays due regard to the effect of the centralisation of services on rural areas and that the ambulance service which serves those areas is developed and controlled locally rather than centralised in its communication network?