asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received on the subject of the proposed closure of the Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre.
My right hon. Friend has received letters from 28 hon. Members—54 letters in all; the Crewe Community Health Council—three letters; the Wigan Labour Party; the Vale Royal District Council; the Oakmere Patients Committee and the Northwich and Davenham League of Friends; a petition signed by 30 members of the staff at Oakmere; and eight letters from private individuals.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations have been received by his Department, the Mersey Regional Health Authority, the Cheshire Area Health Authority, the Crewe Community Health Council, the Wigan Community Health Council, the Bury Community Health Council, and the Manchester South Community Health Council, respectively (a) in favour of and (b) against the closure of Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre.
Seventy letters opposing the proposed closure have been received by the Department, two by the regional health authority and 17 by the area health authority. Of the bodies consulted by the area health authority, 18 recorded no objection to the proposal and three expressed agreement with it. No information is available centrally on representations received by community health councils.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the event of Oakmerc Rehabilitation Centre being closed, subsequent allocations by his Department to the health authorities in the Mersey Region would be correspondingly reduced.
Only to the extent that there is a consequent reduction in the number of patients referred to the Mersey Region from other parts of the country.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what alternative facilities he envisages as being suitable for patients currently being treated at the Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre in the event of the closure of the centre.
The position is complicated by the wide geographical area from which patients are drawn, but I have asked the health authorities concerned for further information on the alternative facilities available and this will be taken fully into account in my right hon. Friend's decision on the proposed closure. As regards facilities for Cheshire patients, the Cheshire Area Health Authority has stated that treatment is available in the physiotherapy departments at Leighton, Chester and Halton Hospitals.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated cost of upgrading the facilities of Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre to modern requirements.
The Cheshire Area Health Authority estimates the cost of building alterations at £150,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to announce his decision on the recommendations of the Cheshire Area Health Authority that Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre should be closed.
My right hon. Friend's decision will be announced as soon as we have fully considered all the arguments advanced for and against the proposal, including those of the deputation which the hon. Member is to lead on 5th December.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what criteria have been used by his Department in assessing the operating costs of Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre as compared with alternative forms of treatment.
In considering any proposal submitted to my right hon. Friend for the closure of a hospital, full account is taken both of the hospital's present costs and of the cost which it is estimated would fall on other hospitals, or other parts of the Health Service, as a result of its being closed. The elements involved include staff costs, overheads and maintenance. Account is also taken of any additional expenditure which would be required to maintain the building in good order if it remained open. These are among the factors we are considering in relation to the proposed closure of the Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the cost per patient per hourly session at Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre based on 1975–76 operating costs and five and a half hourly sessions per day.
I assume that the hon. Member has in mind the calculation by the Crewe Community Health Council, which gave a figure of £.1·92 per patient per hourly session based on total costs per in-patient day and using the assumption stated. Given this assumption, the figure is accepted by the Cheshire Area Health Authority, which would, however, have some reservation about the number of hours assumed. The equivalent figure for 1976–77, based on the same assumptions, is £2·80.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what annual revenue savings would be derived from the closure of Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre by (a) his Department, (b) the Mersey Regional Health Authority and (c) the Cheshire Area Health Authority.
There would be a direct saving to the Cheshire Area Health Authority of £105,167—at 1976–77 prices —which would be available to the authority for redeployment on other services in the area. The revenue target for the area health authority, and for the Mersey Region, would be marginally reduced to take account of any reduction in the service given to patients from outside the region, and there would consequently be a marginal reduction in the revenue allocations to the region and area. Any such reduction would be matched by an increased allocation to the authorities from whose areas patients would otherwise have been referred to Oakmere, and would be available to those authorities for redeployment on their own services.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what efforts have been made by his Department, the Mersey Regional Health Authority and the Cheshire Area Health Authority to increase the utilisation of Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre.
I understand from the Cheshire Area Health Authority that in 1974 a brochure describing the facilities at Oakmere was sent to every hospital in the then Manchester Regional Hospital Board area and contact was established with orthopaedic surgeons in North Wales and the Liverpool Regional Hospital Board area and with the disablement resettlement officer at Northwich. I understand that shortly afterwards a senior member of the area health authority's medical administration contacted a wide range of medical officers in local industry, consultants in local hospitals and representatives of general practitioners with a view to increasing the use of Oakmere. These efforts are said to have achieved little success.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has received of consultants not referring patients to Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre while its future is uncertain.
I understand that one consultant stated in a letter sent in August 1976 that he had not been referring patients recently for this reason.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the consultants at Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre first started to accept patients on direct referral from general practitioners; and how many patients have since been so referred.
November 1976; 46 out-patients and six in-patients.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the percentage occupancy rate at Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre for the period 1st January to 30th June 1977, taking into account both in-patients and day patients.
38·7 per cent. for in-patients. The maximum capacity for day patients at Oakmere has never been assessed, but during the period in question there were 59 new day patients and 389 day patient attendances.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average length of waiting period between the referral by a general practitioner and the commencement of treatment for orthopaedic and stroke patients at Oakmere Rehabilitation Centre.
No waiting is necessary.