Birmingham Children's Hospital

Petitions – in the House of Commons at 11:40 pm on 19th January 1988.

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Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr 11:40 pm, 19th January 1988

I, with some anger and a good deal of bitterness, present a petition of 2,500 signatures from the patients, parents and friends of Birmingham children's hospital to draw to the attention of this honourable House the crisis in treatment —or lack of it—there.

My constituents know that those children have treatable conditions that are not being treated. They say to the House — they have been refused access to the Prime Minister—that we should do everything in our power, which we have not done so far, to support improvements in staff and equipment to make treatment available for those who need it at the time that they need it.

It was with some sadness and bitterness that parents came to the House yesterday and presented a petition of 40,000 signatures to 16 hon. Members who met them. They expect some answer from the House, and they wil not take silence from the Government or the House any longer.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Before I call the next hon. Member to present a petition, it may help hon. Members if I remind them of what our manual of procedure says about the presentation of petitions: If a Member rises in his place to present a petition, he must confine himself to a statement of the persons from whom the petition comes, the number of signatures attached to it and the material allegations contained in it, and to reading the prayer of the petition. I hope that hon. Members will bear that in mind.

Photo of Mr Robin Corbett Mr Robin Corbett Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

In common with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), I rise in sadness to present a petition from 2,500 people in Birmingham and the west midlands who are concerned about the lack of facilities at the Birmingham children's hospital that serves the regional needs of the people of the west midlands.

It must be a shame on all of us in the House that parents with children who need treatment at that hospital are denied it. The petitioners say that the Birmingham children's hospital has insufficient resources to give the treatment required to treatable conditions in young patients from Birmingham and the West Midlands. The petitioners pray that we will all do all in our power to support improvement in staff and equipment so as to make treatment available to those who need it at the time they need it. If the House does nothing else today, I hope that it will respond to this petition.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Dennis Turner Mr Dennis Turner , Wolverhampton South East

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 2,500 people who request that our honourable House should do everything in its power to support improvements in staff and equipment so as to make treatment available at Birmingham children's hospital for those who need it and at the time they need it.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Bruce Grocott Mr Bruce Grocott , The Wrekin

On behalf of 2,500 people from the west midlands, I rise to present a petition on behalf of Birmingham's children's hospital. Although the hospital is called Birmingham children's hospital, I must emphasise that people across the west midlands region are dependent upon the services provided by the hospital.

The petition includes signatories from all parts of my constituency of the Wrekin — people from Hadley, Oakengates, Ketley, Dawley, Madeley, Donnington and Wellington. It also includes people who were represented yesterday by a delegation which came to London, but which was unable to see the Prime Minister. Indeed, many of them had great difficulty in getting access to Downing street.

I present the petition on behalf of the people who are making a simple request, which can be met by the Government, to see that the funds are properly made available for children desperately needing treatment.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

I rise to present a petition on behalf of the 2,500 patients and friends of the Birmingham children's hospital.

That hospital provides a service both in Birmingham and to my constituency. The petitioners plead that hon. Members do everything in their power to ensure that patients of the hospital and others in the west midlands have the treatment that they need, when that treatment is needed, carried out by a surgeon who has been treating them at a hospital at which they have been treated and at a time that they feel that treatment is necessary.

The petitioners believe that that right should be extended to patients of the Birmingham children's hospital and to others in the west midlands. Surely it is the duty of hon. Members to represent the pleas of sick people either in our constituencies or in others.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 2,500 people from throughout the west midlands who ask that the Birmingham children's hospital, which is in my constituency, but which serves children from throughout the region, should have sufficient resources to give treatment required for treatable conditions in young patients from Birmingham and the West Midlands. The hospital is loved and respected by people throughout the west midlands because of the quality of care that it provides for our children. What is going on at the hospital and the harm that is being done to children is an outrage and disgrace that makes people throughout the region, of all backgrounds and political persuasions, furious.

The view in Birmingham is that the package that has recently been put together by the regional health authority to pretend to deal with the problem is too late and is inadequate. People are not satisfied that children should be sent to other hospitals or sent to the private sector. We want resources for our hospital, so that our children can be treated by the doctors who know them and in the hospital that they love.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

I rise on behalf of those in the west midlands who believe that it is quite wrong for children such as Matthew Collier to have to wait a long time for the urgent operations that they require. They believe that it is right and proper that there should be far less delay. It is appropriate that this petition should be presented following today's debate on the National Health Service and my Adjournment debate last Friday on the difficulties created by the fact that there are insufficient nurses in the intensive care unit at Birmingham children's hospital.

The parents and children who came to London to see the Prime Minister yesterday—but whom she would not see—should know that we shall continue to raise this matter and the problems of the hospital at every opportunity—

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

Order. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will bear in mind what I said to the House earlier.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

We shall raise the matter at every opportunity—through debates, questions and petitions—until the children's hospital in Birmingham has sufficient resources to prevent delays such as the delay that Matthew Collier had to endure.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark , Birmingham, Selly Oak

It is not without significance for me that 50 years ago next month the Birmingham children's hospital saved my life. It is good, if sad, to be able to present a petition on behalf of Birmingham children's hospital and all those who go to it, as I did, for treatment. The petition says that the hospital has insufficient resources to give the treatment that I had then, which remains necessary to this day. I hope that it will be noted in the circles that matter most in Government that I am proud to argue that those resources should be made available so that people may be cured.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

The House is already aware of the case of my constituent, seven-year-old Adrian Woolford, who has been repeatedly denied heart operations at the Birmingham children's hospital. I am having to present this petition, carrying the signatures of 2,500 citizens of the west midlands, because the Prime Minister refused to meet children and parents and accept it from them herself yesterday. It is about the 90 Adrians in our region who have been denied life-saving operations because of under-funding in the National Health Service.

The petition says: the Birmingham Children's Hospital has insufficient resources to give the treatment required to treatable conditions in young patients from Birmingham and the West Midlands. Your petitioners pray that your … House will do everything in its power to support improvement in staff and equipment so as to make treatment available to those who need it at the time they need it. It is with anger, weeks after the announcement that £38 million had been spent on the refurbishment of the DHSS headquarters in Whitehall, with its walk-in jacuzzis and crystal chandeliers, that I note that the Birmingham children's hospital has still been given insufficient funds. We need that money for the hospitals that serve our people.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr John Hughes Mr John Hughes , Coventry North East

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 2,500 patients, parents and friends of the Birmingham children's hospital. Unlike the childhood of the petitioners' children, mine was blessed with good health. Like every child, I read my fairy tales. I can recall only one woman as cold as the Prime Minister, who treats lightly the chronic condition of Matthew Mulhall while selfishly demanding instant surgery for her minor complaint. That woman was Hans Andersen's snow queen, whose domain was melted by the warmth of a child's tear. I desperately pray that the warmth of the petitioners' children's innocent tears will have the same effect on the domain of the Commons snow queen.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I rise to present a humble petition on behalf of 2,500 patients parents and friends of Birmingham children's hospital, calling on this honourable House to take note of the gross inadequacy of resources available to the hospital. It calls on the House to do all in its power to provide sufficient resources to end the suffering and the anguish that the shortage of resources is now causing.

The petitioners are aware of the devoted service that is being rendered to the children of the entire region by the staff who are employed in the Birmingham children's hospital, but they are equally conscious that the hospital is desperately under-staffed and that the nurses, doctors, ancillary staff and all the others who are employed there are unable to meet the demands on their time. The petitioners are particularly conscious of the position in the intensive care unit where there are spaces where there should be beds, and beds vacant that should be occupied by children receiving necessary surgery.

We offer this humble petition in the hope that pressure can be brought on the Government to bring what is no more than justice to those suffering children and to end a desperate need.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mrs Llin Golding Mrs Llin Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

I rise to present to the House a petition on behalf of 2,500 patients, parents and friends of Birmingham children's hospital. I wish to bring a simple plea to the House — that the death of baby Barber, who lived in my constituency, should not have been in vain.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Joan Walley Joan Walley , Stoke-on-Trent North

I rise on behalf of 2,500 constituents in the west midlands, many of them from north Staffordshire, who pray that this House will recognise the need to provide proper resources for the Birmingham children's hospital.

I gave my pledge to the parents of Claire Wise that I would do everything in my power, as would any parent, to make sure that those operations and treatments could be available when needed. Therefore, I pray that we shall do everything in our power to support improvement in staff and equipment to make treatment available to those who need it at the time they need it.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Jack Ashley Mr Jack Ashley , Stoke-on-Trent South

I beg to support the petition with one signed by 2,500 people. The petition is both a plea and a condemnation. It is a plea for more money for the Birmingham heart hospital for children. It is a plea for cash for that hospital to provide resources, facilities and treatment. It is a condemnation of the Government for failing to provide that.

The petition is staggering in so far as in 1988 we have to plead for life-saving treatment for children. I therefore offer the petition because those children are in urgent need of treatment.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mark Fisher Mark Fisher , Stoke-on-Trent Central

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 2,500 parents, patients and friends of the Birmingham children's hospital, many from Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire, who are appalled by the insufficient resources at that hospital and the inability of the hospital to respond to the needs of those children, especially in the cardiac surgery and intensive care units. Although the hospital has sufficient surgeons and theatre time, it is unable to treat the children who could be treated in the way that they need because of lack of room in the intensive care unit.

The petitioners, my constituents, cannot understand how children like Michelle Knight of Bentilee and Jane Ball, who is still waiting for heart surgery after weeks and weeks in Abbey Hulton, cannot be treated. The people of Stoke-on-Trent are amazed that the Government cannot and will not respond to the pleas of those parents, patients and friends of the hospital.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Terry Davis Mr Terry Davis , Birmingham, Hodge Hill

I too wish to present a petition from 2,500 parents and friends of Birmingham children's hospital. The signatories include several people who live in my constituency, and in other parts of the city of Birmingham. It also includes people who live in other metropolitan districts in the west midlands, and in an area stretching from Telford to Coventry.

As a father whose daughter's life was saved by an operation at the age of four, I understand and share the feelings of my constituents and the other signatories of the petition. I commend it to the House, on the very evening on which I am told that the Central Birmingham health authority has decided to consider closure of Birmingham general hospital, and of the medical school at Queen Elizabeth hospital—proposals which, if put into effect, will only exacerbate the problems at the Birmingham children's hospital.

To lie upon the Table.