§ Mr. Parry
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will make a statement on the objections raised against the proposed closure of the Royal Liverpool children's hospital, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange;
(2) what representations he has received against the proposed closure of the Royal Liverpool children's hospital and the Newsham general hospital;
(3) if he will agree to meet a deputation from the League of Friends of the Royal Liverpool children's hospital and other 654W interested bodies to discuss the proposed closure;
(4) what consultations have taken place with the Liverpool area health authority concerning the proposed closure of the Royal Liverpool children's hospital and the Newsham general hospital;
(5) if he is satisfied with the present services provided by the Liverpool area health authority in the fields of paediatric and geriatric care; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
There has, I believe, been some misunderstanding locally of the status of certain proposals for the future of the Royal Liverpool children's hospital and Newsham general hospital, put forward by the Liverpool area health authority (teaching).
As part of its area strategic plan it has proposed the future closure of Newsham general hospital, an old building, and its replacement by purpose-built modern units, to provide geriatric care.
The health authority, in undertaking its planning, recognised that there was a need for an expert study of the future pattern of paediatric services, and a specialist working party was set up. This has now reported; its advice is that in future paediatrics should be concentrated mainly on one site—it proposes Alder Hey hospital—with the consequential closure of the paediatric hospitals including the branches at Heswall and the city.
The area strategic plan and the working party report have been issued for consultation so that the authority can be aware of, and take into consideration, the kinds of objections the hon. Member has raised in his letter to me of 24 October, and which have also been raised by others—I have received 10 letters from other hon. Members and 10 private individuals about the Royal Liverpool children's hospital, and two letters from hon. Members about Newsham general hospital. If, when it has considered any objections raised by local interests, the authority decides that, in its view, closure of these hospitals is a necessary part of the future pattern of services for the area as a whole, it envisages that there will be formal consultations on the closure proposals as such, in accordance with established procedure. Before issuing any 655W further consultation document the authority will have had to consider the implications for patients and staff of its proposals—that is, the substance of the representations I have received on the subject.