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Health Services (Medway)

Volume 932: debated on Monday 16 May 1977

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Motion made, and Question proposed,

That, in view of the following facts, namely: that for over two years periodical and urgent representations have been made to the Department of Health and Social Security and the South East Regional Health Authority about the great inadequacy of hospital and other medical and health facilities in the Medway towns; that on 22nd May 1975, the then Minister of State, the Right honourable Member for Plymouth, Devonport, in fulfilling a promise to investigate this situation stated that he had been assured that the area and regional health authorities recognised the problems which had to be faced in Medway and in particular that they were aware of the projected population increases in the district, and would take full account of them in their planning and development of health services; that in May 1975 the honourable Member for Gillingham appealed to the Chairman of the South East Thames Regional Health Authority to treat Medway as a special case and siphon off some of the money going elsewhere and make it available for some of the very urgent needs of Medway; that in reply it was acknowledged that it was only by the dedication and devotion of the staff engaged in the district that standards of care had been maintained at such a high level; that the situation has deteriorated in the intervening two years until it has reached an acute crisis, and all those engaged in operating the health service, the local authorities, newspapers, and not least the patients suffering from the acute lack of facilities are clamouring for action and help; that one senior consultant surgeon called a Press conference because he feared that patients' lives could be at risk because all the adult surgical emergencies for 300,000 people were passing through two 50-bed wards, which at times became more like a casualty clearing station on a battlefield than the surgical wards of a hospital in a civilised country, and another senior consultant at another Medway hospital has urged local civic leaders to make a fuss about the state of their hospitals; and that the special care baby unit at one of the Medway hospitals is still in use two years after being condemned as a health risk, this House calls upon the Secretary of State for Social Services, who has ultimate responsibility for what is happening in the health services in Medway, to intervene firmly to stabilise the present position, and to act urgently to ensure that the standards are rapidly brought up to nothing less than the minimum standards that informed and responsible members of the medical and nursing professions consider necessary to enable them properly to discharge their tasks of treating the sick and injured.ā€”[Mr. Burden.]

6.59 p.m.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, Iā€”

It being Seven o'clock, the Proceedings on the Motion lapsed, pursuant to Standing Order No. 6 ( Precedence of Government Business).