§ Rev. William McCrea
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many beds have been closed in Northern Ireland hospitals in each of the past five years.
§ Mr. Hanley
This information is not available in the form requested. The information in the table shows the average number of available beds in Northern Ireland hospitals for 1985 to 1989–90.
Year Total 1985 16,959 1986 15,962 1987 15,411 1988–89 14,686 1989–90 14,154
Over this period, the number of patients treated increased by 15 per cent. to 315,962. Considerable progress has also been made in providing long-stay patients with more appropriate forms of care in the community in line with the Government's policy of ensuring that people are cared for in a way which promotes their quality of life and provides them with the type of care best suited to their individual needs.