Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1992.

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Photo of James Paice James Paice , South East Cambridgeshire 12:00 am, 18th February 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on progress towards obtaining the use for the NHS of the premises of the RAF Princess of Wales hospital, Ely.

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

I am pleased to tell the House that Cambridgeshire health authority and the Ministry of Defence have agreed in principle that the health authority should buy the RAF hospital at Ely. The health authority and the Defence Land Agent hope to conclude negotiations within a month.

Photo of James Paice James Paice , South East Cambridgeshire

For my constituents in Ely and the surrounding area, it will be excellent news that, after 52 years as part of the RAF, the hospital has a future as part of the NHS. Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the sterling work done by the Action Committee for a Hospital in Ely and Cambridge health authority, which persevered in trying to get the hospital for the NHS? Can he give the House any information about how it has been possible for the NHS, which is supposedly starved of funds, to find the money to buy that hospital?

Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the fact that the further substantial increase in the NHS's capital budget in the next financial year has made it possible for the health authority and the Ministry of Defence to come to an agreement on that issue. I am glad to join my hon. Friend in congratulating those local people who have argued the strong case for ensuring that the hospital facilities at that building continue to be provided to the people of Ely. I welcome the fact that it is part of a continuing development of community hospital and community health facilities within the modern national health service.