Lennard Hospital, Bromley(Closure)

Part of Petition – in the House of Commons at 12:46 pm on 22 December 1983.

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Photo of Mr Roger Sims Mr Roger Sims , Chislehurst 12:46, 22 December 1983

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Ravensbourne (Mr. Hunt) and the Minister for allowing me to make a brief contribution.

My hon. Friend referred to the imbalance of provision in the Bromley district health authority area. As it happens, there is not one hospital in my constituency; all the medical facilities of that character are in the other three constituencies in the borough. Naturally they are used by my constituents, so I am concerned about the situation that has arisen. I do not intend to refer to any particular hospital for that reason, but I shall emphasise some of the points that my hon. Friend made, in particular the fact that Bromley district health authority has been placed in a very difficult position. To meet the financial limits it has been faced with various options, all of them unpalatable, and my hon. Friend described how hard it was for the authority to reach its recent decision.

The financial problems facing the authority stem from various causes, one of which is the so-called Lawson cuts, which did not make life any easier for the authority, particularly coming mid-year and without warning. Then there was the 0·5 per cent. cut in staff, which again appears to have been imposed in a rather overall manner and without consideration of the extent to which staff economies may have been effected in the past. I appreciate that the Department is now implementing so-called performance indicators, which may in the future give some idea of how well one authority is run compared with another, but for the time being these cuts are imposed on an overall basis.

Then there is the problem of the application of the RAWP formula, to which my hon. Friend referred. I am sure that the Minister will say that the financial allocation to each district is a matter for the region, and that is true, but the allocation to the region is a matter for the Secretary of State, so the way in which RAWP works out is eventually a departmental responsibility.

I realise that there is a disparity between regions and a disparity between districts within regions. But the theory, after all, of RAWP was that the well-endowed areas, such as Bromley, should stand still to allow the less well-off areas to catch up. The reality of the situation is that there is a loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds in real terms to areas such as Bromley, and I ask the Minister to have another look at the way in which the RAWP formula is affecting areas such as Bromley.