To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received in opposition to the closure proposed for 1988–89 of the Children's ear, nose and throat hospital, Ely, Cardiff; and what assessment has been made of the suitability of alternative medical facilities offered at the University hospital of Wales.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales wishes me to apologise for his absence from the House on an important inward investment mission overseas.
My right hon. Friend has received two representations on the proposed closure of the Children's ear, nose and throat hospital at Ely from nursing and administrative staff at the hospital. The suitability of alternative medical facilities at the University hospital of Wales is a matter for South Glamorgan health authority in the first instance.
Does the Minister agree that the act of medical vandalism that is being contemplated by South Glamorgan health authority will lower the standard of hospital services by removing the only specialist children's hospital in Wales? Since about 40 per cent. of its patients come from outside South Glamorgan, if Welsh Office Ministers cannot take responsibility for the quality of hospital services in such regional specialty hospitals, who can?
The proposal has yet to be approved by the health authority. If there is continuing disagreement, it must come to my right hon. Friend for a decision. In those circumstances, I can make no comment at this stage.
Could the matter be examined in another way? Is my hon. Friend aware that the over-concentration in the University hospital has led to a tremendous shortage of building space and parking space, not only for relatives visiting patients, but for members of staff? Will the over-concentration continue, or will wiser counsels prevail?
I am not sure about wiser counsels, but my hon. Friend makes a good point. The health authority will have considered that issue when examining alternative accommodation at the University hospital. If the matter came before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, I imagine that he would consider it, too.