The arrangements for the admission and care of patients in Bangor hospital are, as with all other hospitals in the board's area, under the control of individual hospital consultants. GPs from throughout the area have the right to refer patients to any consultant via out-patients, domiciliary visit or direct contact.
Is the Minister aware that all the doctors share my view that the length of time that patients have to wait for hospital appointments is scandalous in the Bangor area, which has an enormous and increasing population? Is not it equally disgraceful that there is no casualty department in the Bangor hospital and that 18 surgical beds are to be closed? [Interruption.] I regret to say that the Official Unionists are making a mockery of this question.
The consultants, who are, after all, the people most concerned with referrals to the hospital, are in favour of the temporary closure of the ward. It was very underused and there was no acute care in the hospital after 5 pm. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that health care in his area is of the highest order— [Interruption.]
Order. I ask the House to listen to Northern Ireland questions. This is a rare opportunity to ask questions about the Province.
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) for his help. He might help me even more if he came and sat up here.