asked the Minister of Health how many mentally subnormal patients are on the waiting list for hospitals in the Manchester Regional Hospital Board area; and what prospects there are of increasing the number of beds available.
Three hundred and forty-four last December; for proposed developments I would refer the hon. Member to Command Paper 1604.
Is that not a very high figure for one type of case? Is the hon. Lady aware that there are waiting lists also in the regional hospital board area for other cases? Is the Manchester region getting its fair share of the resources available? If not, would it not be possible for other regions to help Manchester out with these long waiting lists?
No doubt the hon. Gentleman is aware that Liverpool has an extreme shortage of such beds, and, therefore, beds are pooled between Manchester and Liverpool. The new hospital plan provides for an increase in beds at Cranage Hall Hospital from 524 beds to 924, with an increase for the Liverpool region over the period of 1,500 beds. One further important point which I should add is that the Lancashire County Council has proposals for 14 hostels for sub-normal patients.
Is the hon. Lady aware that this type of case means that those on the waiting lists are waiting for deaths in order to get vacancies? This is a rather different situation from that created by ordinary diseases. Will she give particular attention to the need for beds for this type of case?
The hospital development plan provides for a considerable increase in the number of beds available for subnormal patients. If the hon. Gentleman has a certain case in mind, I will look at it—on the understanding, of course, that I would not want to press for priority for a particular case.