Hospital Beds

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central 12:00 am, 24th April 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of hospital beds in Wales in each health authority; and if he will list the projected number for each of the next five years. [18725]

Photo of Mr Rod Richards Mr Rod Richards , Clwyd North West

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.

Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central

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.

Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central

I am glad to see that the Minister agrees—perhaps there is some electoral advantage for the Conservative party in doing that.

Photo of Mr Rod Richards Mr Rod Richards , Clwyd North West

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.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd , Cynon Valley

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?

Photo of Mr Rod Richards Mr Rod Richards , Clwyd North West

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.