§ 14. Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon)
If he will make a statement concerning the level and availability of out-patient and day surgery treatment at Edgware hospital. 
§ The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Denham)
Edgware community hospital forms an integral part of the health service in that part of London. All local national health service organisations are committed to ensuring that the level of out-patient and day surgery services at the hospital is appropriate and that those services are effective in meeting the needs of local people.
§ Mr. Dismore
Is my hon. Friend aware that there has been some concern in my constituency that when 699 Wellhouse trust was running the acute services on the site, it was not delivering the level of service that my constituents were entitled to expect? Will he reassure my constituents that, now that acute services have been taken over by the merged Barnet and Chase Farm trust, they can expect to have the build-up of out-patient and day surgery cases that they are entitled to expect, to ensure that they can obtain treatment locally instead of having to travel quite long distances?
§ Mr. Denham
I want to reassure my hon. Friend. It is true that some services were transferred from Edgware hospital in what was always regarded as a short-term move. Currently, 60,000 out-patient attendances are reported at Edgware community hospital, but I can assure my hon. Friend that local NHS trusts are working hard, with the full support of the health authority and of primary care groups, to ensure that sessions in general surgery, urology, gynaecology and orthopaedics are reintroduced to the hospital.
§ Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)
What changes have there been to the accident services at Edgware other than those that were planned by the previous Government? Is not the truth of the matter that the only change that has been made is to call it something other than a minor accident treatment centre, which has so confused people who have what they think are serious injuries that they go to Edgware instead of Barnet?
§ Mr. Denham
It was the Government in which the hon. Gentleman served who closed the accident and emergency department. Since we came to office, we have sought to define clearly a new and positive role for Edgware community hospital. I have mentioned the additional services that local trusts are seeking to develop. The first phase of the redevelopment of the hospital has already been completed, at a capital cost of £11 million, and I understand that a full business case for phase 2 is due for submission to the National Health Service Executive shortly. We have therefore given significant backing to the future of the Edgware hospital.
§ Mr. Tony McNulty (Harrow, East)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for confirming that the Tories, not the present Government, shut the A and E at Edgware, on 1 April 1997. Can he confirm that the services that the urgent treatment centre will provide will represent a significant advance on what went before, not least in telemedicine, given that it has all been taken over by Central Middlesex hospital trust—not Wellhouse trust, which was a sham and a disaster from day one?
§ Mr. Denham
I heard the word sham, but not what it referred to; that is why it is difficult for me to answer the question fully. However, my hon. Friend can be assured of our genuine commitment to the future development of high-quality services at Edgware community hospital.