I refer the hon. Member to the latest information on hospital beds published in the 1994 edition of "Health and Personal Social Services Statistics for Wales", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
As for future provision, health authorities must ensure that sufficient beds are available to meet the health needs of local people.
I hope that the Minister, when he addresses the health needs of local people, will pay attention to the King's Fund report, which recommended hospital closures in London, but whose authors, in the light of evidence of an increasing need for emergency care, have reviewed the process. They now see that there is a need in London and elsewhere for more hospital beds. I hope that the Welsh Office will not allow the health authorities to continue to close hospitals and to reduce the number of hospital beds unless it is clear that those beds are not needed.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already stated the Government's policy on that subject. I can reassure the hon. Gentleman further by saying that my Department has a working group currently looking at accident and emergency provision throughout Wales. I believe that that will help to steer the health authorities in Wales towards ensuring that sufficient numbers of beds are available to meet the demand.
I support my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, Central (Mr. Jones)—even though he is a Whip—in his call for Cardiff royal infirmary to be kept open. As someone who has lived in Cardiff for a long time, may I say that when a hospital is threatened with closure, as Cardiff royal infirmary is, it develops a sort of planning blight? I was there at the weekend visiting a patient and I was shocked at the level of cleaning services resulting from management cuts. Will the Minister investigate levels of cleanliness? For example, the toilets in the ward that I visited had not be cleaned for three days. Such things should not happen in 1995 in our NHS. Will the Minister investigate that matter forthwith?
I can understand the hon. Lady's concern for hospitals in Cardiff as she is, of course, a resident of Cardiff. However, she makes a serious point about the hospital and I shall, of course, have my officials look into that problem as soon as I reasonably can. I am sure that the hon. Lady is aware that the University Hospital of Wales NHS trust is in discussion with the community health council in Cardiff.