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South Glamorgan Health Authority

Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met the chairman of the South Glamorgan health authority to discuss health provision in the area.

I look forward to meeting the chairman of South Glamorgan health authority on 10 July.

I add my congratulations to the Minister of State on the signal honour that he has received from the Prime Minister, which is normally reserved for Ministers retiring to the Back Benches. Perhaps there is a moral there somewhere of the "didn't she know" or "how could she tell" variety as Dorothy Parker said of President Coolidge.

When the Secretary of State meets the chairman of South Glamorgan health authority, will he say what advice he is giving to health authorities in preparation for April 1991 in relation to hospitals where a large proportion of current patient flow comes from outside their own county health authority area so that authorities know how on earth they are to budget for the 50 per cent. of patients from outside the county? The current instructions and guidelines on closure proposals are exactly the same as they were before, but the conditions have completely changed.

The hon. Gentleman's health authority is adequately resourced for the present situation. The amount on revenue is up by 7·2 per cent. and the amount on capital is up by 122 per cent. In future, these will form part of the discussions in the usual way.

I regret that the hon. Gentleman introduced a sour note in his welcome to my hon. Friend the Minister of State. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to have a good working relationship with the Secretary of State, he should review his last letter—about which I read in the Western Mail before I received it.

There was an excellent initiative launched in South Glamorgan this morning about the use of donor cards to promote more organ and blood donors. May I urge my right hon. Friend and all Welsh Members to meet representatives of the Kidney Research Unit for Wales Foundation and the blood transfusion service outside the House later to promote their excellent endeavours further?

I have a letter from my hon. Friend, who I understand is the vice-president of the Kidney Research Unit for Wales Foundation. I am happy that the Welsh Office has been able to support the foundation. I shall be joining hon. Members from both sides of the House on College green after Question Time to promote this worthy cause.

I welcome the Secretary of State to his new office and I welcome also his latter remark. Will he ask his officials to brief him properly on the finances of South Glamorgan health authority? He will find that there is a shortfall of either £4 million or £7·2 million, depending on which view one takes, in the financial resources of the authority.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in addition to that and the tremendous planning problems that the authority faces, the staggered start to Project 2000 is proving devastating to the morale, training and recruitment of nurses in South Glamorgan? As people have worked so hard to meet the deadline of 1991, which was promised by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, is not it essential that it be restored? Would not he get his incumbency of the Welsh Office off to a good start by restoring the start date for South Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan and Gwent?

I have the correct figures. As I understand it, South Glamorgan's revenue provision is £188·2 million, which is up £12·7 million. I calculate that to be a 7·2 per cent. increase. It is—[Interruption.] I was told that my figures were incorrect, but I believe that they are correct. The capital provision is £7·9 million, which is up 122 per cent. I ask the hon. Gentleman to do his homework. There is a later question on Project 2000. It will be implemented in accordance with the amount of revenue provision that is available, the financial circumstances and the ability to introduce it properly and effectively.

If we are to have a good working relationship, I do not want to find falling into my hands letters from the National Union of Public Employees instructing the hon. Gentleman to send certain letters. I shall make the letter available to him so that he can show that he is not a puppet on a NUPE string.