Ambulance Service, Oldham (Expenditure)
asked the Minister of Health the saving in public funds estimated to be achieved in the area of the Oldham Hospital Management Committee and in England and Wales, respectively, as a result of his recent circular advocating limited use of ambulance services.
The object of the circular is to ensure that any extravagance which may exist is eliminated. Until action under the circular is well advanced my right hon. Friend has no means of estimating what saving there may be.
Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that it is the essence of an ambulance service that it should be ambulatory and not static? A static ambulance with a static driver is not economical. Is it not a fact that this precious circular lists 19 separate ways in which it is suggested that a few odd coppers' worth of service can be saved in dealing with the maimed, the halt, the sick and the dying?
That is an entirely false interpretation of my right hon. Friend's circular. The aim is to eliminate extravagance and not to limit proper demands.
Harlow New Town
asked the Minister of Health when it is anticipated that a hospital will be built and made available at Harlow New Town; and whether the plans include provision for a special children's ward and a modern health clinic.
The scheme will begin as soon as it can be fitted into the capital programme. I am informed that the Regional Hospital Board's plans include a children's department and consultative clinics, and that a health centre is to be provided on an adjoining site by the responsible authorities.
Can the Minister say exactly when these two very important departments are likely to be opened?
No, I cannot. It is a question of priorities and essentially one for the regional hospital board. There are a great many other similar problems, perhaps even more urgent, in, for example, the Hatfield-Welwyn area, that have to be taken into account.
Children's Nurses (Recruitment)
asked the Minister of Health, in view of the special requirements for child nursing in hospitals and the need for specialised training of nurses for this purpose, to what extent special wards or departments have been, and are being, opened in hospitals; and what efforts are being made to secure recruits for this type of nursing.
At the end of 1952, the latest date for which figures are available, there were in England and Wales some 24,000 hospital beds for short-stay sick children, about 10,000 of them being in hospitals devoted entirely to children.My right hon. Friend is not aware of any need for special recruitment measures in this field, which is a very popular one.