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University College Hospital, Cardiff

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of repairs and rebuilding being undertaken at University college hospital, Heath, Cardiff.

Remedial works at the University hospital of Wales have covered mosaic cladding, repairs to ceilings in Meirionnydd House, defects in Pembroke and Brecknock residences and ward B4G. I am awaiting a report on the extent of any further works following a detailed structural survey of the hospital.

Pending that survey, will my hon. Friend say what the cost to date has been; what it is expected to be; whether anyone has been held legally responsible; and, when he receives the report, whether we can expect an end of the matter and that we shall not have to repair and rebuild this hospital every eight or 10 years?

The remedial works undertaken to date have cost £1·8 million. The report on the survey of the defects indicated a total cost of £6·3 million for the necessary remedial works, but a working party was set up to consider what further work was to be funded from central NHS sources. That working party is due to report shortly. It is expected that the cost will be in the region of £2 million, in addition to the £1·8 million in all spent so far.

As to action against those responsible for the defects, no one has admitted liability and responsibility for the current situation, but writs have been issued against the consultant engineers and the architects with regard to the mosaic defects. The question of litigation in respect of the further defects is also being examined.

In order to contain the obvious apprehension, as stated by the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Grist), will the Minister arrange for Welsh hospital capital building expenditure to match or even exceed the per capita figure for England and Scotland?

As the hon. Gentleman should know, significant NHS capital works are taking place in Wales. We are building no fewer than four new district general hospitals. Of course, the expenditure figures on the University hospital of Wales must be related to the fact that that hospital would cost £100 million if it were built today.

Does the Minister agree that it is a public scandal that, so soon after the completion of this hospital, these remedial works are now required? Will he keep the House closely informed of the progress of litigation?

I agree with a great deal of what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said. I quote from memory, but I think that the hospital is about 10 years old. The Department has been carrying out a study of its procedures for controlling major projects, and it is hoped that the findings will help eliminate future defects in major capital projects.