§ Dr. Richard Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for funding the provision of the extra beds for the new hospital in Worcester. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Significant investment has been made available nationally to accommodate the required increase in National Health Service capacity to ensure improvements in waiting times for elective surgery and the rapid treatment of emergency inpatients. This has recently been quantified in the national beds inquiry work.
I am advised that in Worcestershire it has been agreed that 86 additional beds will be required in April 2002 over previous plans. This will be financed by additional resources earmarked to meet NHS planned targets. Local health groups are looking at the extent to which these could be replaced in the longer term with alternative facilities in the community. In the meantime, three wards in the Aconbury (East) Unit on the Newtown site of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have been designated as medical beds.