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Broadcasts (Football Matches)

Volume 649: debated on Monday 13 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the present system of broadcasting football matches to patients in hospitals may be discontinued; and if he will consult with the Postmaster-General to ensure that this service to patients is continued.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answers given by my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General on 6th and 7th November.

Is the hon. Lady satisfied with the ridiculous reply that was given? Is she not prepared in the Ministry of Health at least to push the Postmaster-General into providing something which is beneficial for the health of those in hospital? Why on earth does not her Ministry wake up to the fact that if she accepts without protest what the other Ministries are saying she will be in trouble?

It is a service which is essentially for voluntary effort, and, in fact, a great contribution has been made, as I well know, by the Leagues of Friends and the free moneys of hospitals. My right hon. Friend has already said that the increased charges will be reduced by about one-half.

Is the hon. Lady not aware that this matter, which some of us raised several weeks ago, has only had the result that the Ministers concerned have fixed a figure far above that which pertained last July, and that all they have done is to stop squeezing the service quite as badly as they were going to do?

The right hon. Gentleman will not expect me to comment on the work of another Department. I know something about this service because I had a hand myself in establishing the pioneer venture in Birmingham. I know it is a good service, and I am satisfied that it can continue, particularly with the voluntary help that is forthcoming.