Mr David Gibson-Watt: The Welsh Hospital Board has no plans for major improvements to the hospital services in Anglesey, but people on the island will benefit from the services of the new district general hospital at Bangor.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: There are no immediate plans for what the right hon. Gentleman asks, but there is no doubt that sooner or later decisions will have to be taken by the Welsh Hospital Board or its successors on what the right hon. Gentleman is inquiring about.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Between 31st March 1972 and 31st March 1973-the latest date for which figures are available-the number of people waiting for hospital treatment in Wales increased by 18 per cent. for in-patients and decreased by 9 per cent. for out-patients. I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services on 9th July regarding the action we...
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I take my hon. Friend's point about part-time nursing. That is certainly a point. On the other hand, I could not agree with him that the Welsh Hospital Board was wrong in closing these hospitals down. These decisions were taken only after considerable thought. Although they may have been unpopular in my hon. Friend's constituency, I fear that they had to be.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: What the hon. Gentleman says is unreasonable. My right hon. and learned Friend is aware of the circumstances and he has received a preliminary report, which he is examining with a view to considering what further action should be taken.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Within the next few weeks.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: That supplementary question comes badly from the Opposition When my right hon. and learned Friend and I took over the Welsh Office, there was one Conservative upon the Welsh Hospital Board. I should like to give the House the assurance that our choosing of these people to run health in Wales will result in a balanced and able crew.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I could not confirm that.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: One of the reasons why the Government decided to have area health authorities, and not a regional board, and to have community health councils was to do just the thing that the hon. Gentleman wishes.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The tendering procedures are laid down in Welsh Office Circular 69/67; I will send the hon. Member a copy. They are designed broadly to ensure that value for money is obtained.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I understand the hon. Member's concern about this, but the reasons in the circular to which I have referred have been well understood. With regard to the EEC point, my right hon. and learned Friend and I are very much aware of that.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am sure the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as we all do that the situation in the building industry in Wales at the moment is very overheated. He will not be suggesting that all building in Wales should be done by Welshmen. Many firms come from England and Scotland and certain firms may come from overseas. Naturally, on most occasions they will employ Welsh people to do these jobs.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: My hon. Friend is right. The situation in his constituency is as difficult as in any constituency in Wales with regard to overheating. It is a great problem to find the necessary builders to do the jobs at the moment in this time of boom.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: At present the average time between lodging a planning appeal and inquiry is about 40 weeks.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for bringing this particular case to my attention. If he will let me have details, I shall look into it immediately.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: No. We find it possible to do more work in the Welsh Office with two Ministers than the Labour Party did with three. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's first question is 14 weeks. I think that the reason for the delay is well known. It is that the number of appeals has grown from 651 in 1971 to 891 in 1972, and in 1973 appeals are coming in at the rate of 1,000 a year.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: Yes, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. The time lag is about the same in England. We are trying to increase the number of inspectors, and we are doing so. This is the bottleneck and not the one to which the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) referred.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: The property is no longer required for hospital purposes and arrangements are in hand to dispose of it.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: It has always been the policy when disposing of surplus hospital land to sell at the best price reasonably obtainable. I understand that the local authorities concerned are not wishful to put either of these buildings to any particular use.
Mr David Gibson-Watt: I am not aware of any report which could appropriately be submitted to the Welsh Council for its investigation. The Council does not, I understand, have any plans at present to carry out any study of this industry in Wales.