HC Deb 05 December 1950 vol 482 cc184-5
23. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to permit representatives of the Press to be in attendance at the regional hospital boards in Scotland and have the minutes of these boards available in the libraries of the appropriate regional board areas with a view to keeping the public better informed on the general administration and management of the hospitals under the National Health Service.

Mr. McNeil

Representatives of the Press do regularly attend the meetings of regional hospital boards, and the boards, I know, are most grateful for the help and co-operation they receive from the Press. As to placing the regional board minutes in the public libraries, this is a subject within the discretion of the boards, who take the view—which I must confess I share—that this is not the best way of securing publicity. They are adopting other means, and I am encouraging them to use these to the full.

Mr. Carmichael

May I ask my right hon. Friend what alternative he has to submitting minutes to the public libraries, bearing in mind that the public libraries always had minutes when the hospitals were under the jurisdiction of the local authorities?

Mr. McNeil

I am not quite certain that these minutes will cover just exactly the same ground as that covered by the minutes of the local authorities. I think that in some cases they deal, for example, with matters affecting patients, which I should not think should be given publicity by being placed in the public libraries.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Do I understand from the right hon. Gentleman's first answer that all regional boards invite the Press to all their proper meetings, or is it only some regional boards which do that?

Mr. McNeil

My understanding of the position is that the Press have access to these meetings.