Hospitals

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 1989.

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Photo of David Marshall David Marshall , Glasgow Shettleston 12:00 am, 11th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received about the under-utilisation of armed services hospitals.

Photo of Mr Michael Neubert Mr Michael Neubert , Romford

The utilisation of service hospitals was considered by the Select Committee on Public Accounts in its ninth report of the 1987–88 session. The Government replied in a Treasury minute in February 1989, Cm. 323. The Committee's 21st report of the 1988–89 Session, which also deals with service hospitals, was published on 22 June. It contains further observations which are now being considered.

Photo of David Marshall David Marshall , Glasgow Shettleston

Will the Minister confirm that the Select Committee on Public Accounts criticised Halton, Wroughton and Haslar military hospitals for failing to agree to treat more National Health Service patients? Why is the Ministry of Defence still dragging its feet on the issue? Will the Minister act immediately to ensure that all military hospitals take more NHS patients instead of leaving so many empty beds?

Photo of Mr Michael Neubert Mr Michael Neubert , Romford

It may not be appreciated that the service hospitals already take 250,000 NHS patients. The scope for more is limited only by the willingness of local and regional health authorities to accept more contracts. I can report that since the consideration by the Select Committee on Public Accounts, RAF Wroughton has negotiated a contract with the Mid-Glamorgan and Crewe health authorities to take patients of theirs.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Bradford West

Have any expressions of interest in becoming self-governing trusts been received from armed services hospitals?

Photo of Mr Michael Neubert Mr Michael Neubert , Romford

That is, perhaps, pointing the way to the future. Who knows? I may be answering a question on that at a future Question Time.