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Spinal Injury Patients (Treatment Facilities)

Volume 972: debated on Thursday 25 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many patients in the past 12 months from the South of England have had to be treated in spinal injuries units in the North because of the inadequacy of Stoke Mandeville hospital and the absence of alternative facilities in the South; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he is satisfied with the number of beds in spinal injuries units and their distribution throughout the country;(3) what is his policy towards annual check-ups for spinal injury patients at the unit where they were originally treated; which spinal injuries units are currently unable to provide this service; and if he will make a statement;(4) if he will list the spinal injuries units in England with the number of beds in each (

a) currently in use, and ( b) temporarily closed; what is the reason for the bed closure in each case; and if he will make a statement.

As there is no spinal unit south of Stoke Mandeville, provision in the South of England is not sufficient, but the position will improve when the Stanmore and Odstock units come into operation. I have no information about numbers of patients treated in Northern units because of lack of provision in the South, but the evidence I have suggests that provision in the North is generally adequate.Any decision on the frequency of reviews of patients is a matter for the individual consultant, and it is for him to decide whether to carry out the review himself or to refer the patient to a col- league. I am aware that the consultants at Stoke Mandeville experience problems because of their wide catchment area.I shall write to the right hon. Gentleman giving him up-to-date information about bed occupancy and availability in each unit. The position changes frequently because of staff recruitment and other factors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what stage the proposal to build a new spinal injuries unit at Stanmore hospital has reached; and if he will make a statement.

The functional content and operational policies of the unit have been agreed and I am very glad to say that approval has been given for the board of governors to proceed as quickly as possible to detailed design of the unit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the spinal injuries unit at Odstock hospital, Salisbury, to become operational; and if he will make a statement.

The latest information available to me is that the spinal unit should become operational in mid-1983.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Spinal Injuries Association concerning Stoke Mandeville hospital; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.

We have received representations recently from the Spinal Injuries Association concerning the availability of beds and funding arrangements at the national spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville. I intend to visit Stoke Mandeville next month to see the situation for myself.