HC Deb 17 December 1953 vol 522 cc561-2
47. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health how many new hospitals are under construction in England and Wales, showing mental hospitals and mental deficiency hospitals separately.

Mr. Iain Macleod

One new mental deficiency hospital near Southport, for which preliminary site works are in progress.

Mr. Robinson

Will the right hon. Gentleman not agree that that is a very disappointing reply? Does he not also agree that this country is steadily falling behind practically every other European country? Is he not aware that in France, Italy, Switzerland and all the Scandinavian countries there are excellent modern post-war hospitals?

Mr. Macleod

I am certainly aware that it has not been possible to build new hospitals since the war; but, after all, none was built in the six years in which the party opposite were in power. At least we are now making a start.

Mr. Marquand

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that he told me only a week or two ago, in a Written answer to a Question, that during the first two years of his Government's administration there was less capital expenditure each year for hospitals than in the previous two years?

Mr. Macleod

The right hon. Gentleman must study the allocation for next year.

Mr. Paget

Has the right hon. Gentleman sufficient staff for his existing hospitals?

Mr. Macleod

In many cases the problems of staff are not so much those of total number as of distribution. There are, and remain, very considerable problems in sanatoria and in the mental field. That is one of the matters that we were discussing earlier in relation to a pay claim that has now gone to arbitration.