HC Deb 15 March 1950 vol 472 cc1065-6
18. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why the Royal Naval Hospital at Port Edgar is to be closed; and what alternative accommodation is to be provided for service personnel in the Firth of Forth area who require hospital treatment.

20. Mr. Mathers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware of the concern caused by the proposed closing of the Royal Naval Hospital at Port Edgar; whether he will make a statement as to the position of the patients and staff involved; and what future use is to be made of the hospital.

The Civil Lord to the Admiralty (Mr. Walter Edwards)

As explained by my noble Friend in his statement on the Navy Estimates 1950–51 (Cmd. 7897), the R.N. Hospital, Port Edgar, is being closed because satisfactory arrangements can be made to accommodate naval patients at other military or civil hospitals in Scotland. The naval personnel at Port Edgar will be required for naval service elsewhere. We expect to find it possible to transfer the established civil staff to other naval establishments in the area and will endeavour to do the same for as many as possible of the unestablished staff. The future use of the hospital will be decided in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. The possibility that the Hospital may be required for civil hospital purposes is being borne in mind.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

What accommodation will there be for the naval patients to which I have referred in the second part of my Question? Can the hon. Gentleman say to which hospital he will send them?

Mr. Edwards

This will be carried out in consultation with the regional hospital boards; we are working in close consultation with them.

Mr. Mathers

Does the closing of this hospital mean that any decision has been taken with regard to the Rosyth naval base as well.

Mr. Edwards

This decision has nothing to do with the Rosyth naval base.

19. Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many Royal Naval hospitals are at present in use; and how many of these are situated in Scotland.

Mr. W. Edwards

The number of Royal Naval hospitals at present in use is 10, of which six are at home and four overseas. The Royal Naval Hospital at Port Edgar is the only naval hospital in Scotland.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Would it not be desirable to keep one of the hospitals in Scotland and close one of the others?

Mr. Edwards

I am sorry, but in present circumstances that is not possible. I would remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we do not have one in Wales either.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that this decision about the Port Edgar Hospital does, as the right hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Mathers) said, raise the whole question of Rosyth; and is it not obvious that if all the medical facilities are taken away it is highly likely that all the naval personnel who require those facilities will also have to be taken away?

Mr. Edwards

As I have said, this has no connection at all with the Rosyth Dockyard decision. We have dispensed with the use of Port Edgar Hospital because naval patients can be accommodated in civilian hospitals.