§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what date the current maintenance backlog on National Health Service properties will be cleared on current and planned capital spending for the National Health Service in Wales.
§ Mr. Grist
Backlog maintenance is a term generally used to describe the work necessary to bring National 109W Health Service property up to a standard of full life expectancy where no expenditure except for routine maintenance is required. District health authorities' programmes to achieve this include investment in the maintenance of buildings which are to be retained, the rationalisation of services to release accommodation which is no longer practicably suitable and the construction of new facilities. They are encouraged to give a high priority to these activities and their performance is monitored by the Department as part of its annual review process. However, in view of progressive improvements in the standards of accommodation required, the continuing need for maintenance investment and the long-term nature of some of the measures to improve the conditions of the estate, it is not possible to estimate when the current maintenance backlog will be substantially eliminated.