Skip to main content


Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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


asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Greenwich.

I visited Greenwich on 14th January as part of my tour of docklands. I have at present no plans for a further visit.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if he were to return to Greenwich he would meet widespread local concern about the threat to close a number of hospitals in the borough? Does he not think it ridiculous that, at a time when his Government are trying to direct more help to inner urban areas, regional health authorities should be seeking to switch National Health Service resources away from London to aid such unlikely deprived areas as Hastings, Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells?

I am not aware of the details, but I understand that there is a proposal to close the Royal Herbert Hospital and the maternity hospital at Woolwich when the new Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital opens. I also understand that the majority of the existing staff are likely to be taken on by the new hospital and that little or no staff reductions are expected to be necessary.

When the Prime Minister next visits the dockers in Greenwich or elsewhere, will he explain to them that the Dock Work Regulation Act, although it is not yet in force, will be coming into force because the Liberals did not make it part of the pact that it would not come into force, despite the fact that they say that there is to be no more Socialism?

I am very ready to meet the dockers in Greenwich, Cardiff—my own constituency—or elsewhere. I find them very satisfied with what is happening.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is still a serious disparity between regions such as Trent and some of the London regions in the resources of the National Health Service? Will he encourage the Secretary of State for Social Services to continue the excellent policy of reinforcing those regions which most need help?

It is certainly a part of our programme and philosophy that needs should be met in the first place and that priority should be directed towards need, and I hope that we shall continue to follow that policy.