The Grove Hospital, Ilkley

– in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 16th November 1987.

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Photo of Mr Gary Waller Mr Gary Waller , Keighley 4:03 pm, 16th November 1987

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the proposed emergency closure of The Grove hospital, Ilkley. One quarter of National Health Service convalescent beds are located there.

The matter is urgent because, at its meeting tomorrow, the Leeds Western health authority will have before it a proposal to close The Grove almost immediately as an emergency measure and as part of a package intended to deal with overspending of £800,000 in this financial year. The community health council has strongly opposed the closure and at its meeting last month, the health authority failed only narrowly by seven votes to five to throw out the closure proposal, but also resolved to consider fresh alternatives.

The reason why the House should discuss the matter is that a decision to accept an emergency closure at a time when the statutory procedures are in midstream would effectively tie the hands of Ministers, who can hardly consider objectively the future of a hospital, the doors of which have closed and the staff of which have been dispersed.

The matter is specific and important because on 7 April this year my hon. Friend the Minister for Health said in answer to a question from me in the House: Should there be objections from the relevant quarters —and there have been—the proposals would come to Ministers to determine".—[Official Report, 7 April 1987; Vol. 114, c. 147.] However, everyone realises that if the hospital were to be closed now, before the statutory procedures are completed and before objectors have even had a chance to put forward alternatives, the involvement of Ministers would be a parody of what Parliament intended. Such a move would subvert the democratic processes under which we operate and, by doing so, would undermine public confidence in the processes laid down by Parliament to ensure that the viewpoints of all concerned can be given full weight.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely, the proposed emergency closure of The Grove hospital, Ilkley. I listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I regret that the matter that he has raised is not appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.