Skip to main content

Hospital Closures

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to change the procedure in relation to hospital closures.

The procedure for closure or change of use of health buildings was notified to health authorities in October 1975, after wide consultations. The procedure appears to be working satisfactorily and I am not planning to make any changes. But I will keep the arrangements under review.

Will my right hon. Friend in the meantime bear in mind the wishes of the people in the community, particularly the people of Nelson and Colne, who desire to retain facilities in Nelson and Colne if Reedyford Memorial Hospital has to go? I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind the report of the inquiry, in which the inspector said that if Reedyford had to go alternative facilities should be provided before it was demolished.

I appreciate my hon. Friend's point. The need to demolish the Reedyford Memorial Hospital results from the decision reached on the route of the Burnley to Colne stretch of the M65 Calder Valley motorway. The Lancashire Area Health Authority has embarked on a full programme of local consultation on the closure and the replacement of facilities. When the time for the closure of the hospital approaches, further consultations with the community health council and other local interests will be carried out. The views of all concerned will be taken into account before final decisions are taken on the replacement of services.

Has the Secretary of State anything to say about antique hospitals such as the Birmingham Accident Hospital, which should be closed? Even though there is a longstanding plan to close it, under the Government's cuts it is not to be closed. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at that hospital, where 50,000 seriously sick people go each year, lighting fails in the middle of operations, that the X-ray and other facilities are very bad, and that it needs to be closed quickly?

I shall not be drawn into commenting on the particular hospital. The hon. Lady well knows that there are many old hospitals. There has been a pretty substantial programme of rebuilding and improvement, but with restraint on public expenditure, the capital programme has been slowed down. I am well aware of some of the problems. The hon. Lady will no doubt raise the matter directly with me or with the area health authority.