Acute Health Services (East Kent)

Part of Orders of the Day — Delegated Legislation – in the House of Commons at 1:07 am on 14th February 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gisela Stuart Gisela Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) 1:07 am, 14th February 2000

I shall come to the issue of bed numbers about a paragraph from now.

The health authority has stated that, in accordance with the then Secretary of State's decision, it is committed to ensuring that robust services at alternative sites are in place before any service is transferred from its current location. To assist it in this process—because, as the change occurs, there will be some duplication of services—the authority has applied for special assistance funding to help it during this period. A decision on that is expected shortly.

I now turn to the specific issues raised by the hon. Member for Canterbury and the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard). First, I shall discuss bed numbers. The number of acute beds will increase from the 1,395 that were originally proposed to 1,417. We do of course recognise the public concern about the eventual number of beds in the area and the pressure that they have been under this winter, and we expect the health authority to continue to monitor and review bed numbers closely. The right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe made reference to the national bed survey, which I assume is what was covered in that letter. Some of those findings will be incorporated, but the overall decision by the Secretary of State stands.