HC Deb 08 May 1951 vol 487 cc1752-3
44. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why patients, resident in the County of Perth, have to go to Dundee Royal Infirmary for radiotherapy treatment of malignant diseases, causing great inconvenience and hardship; and if he will arrange for such treatment to be given at Perth Royal Infirmary.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. McNeil)

Radio-therapy treatment requires highly specialised equipment and techniques and, in accordance with accepted policy, is available only at a limited number of centres under the control of consultants with special experience. Dundee Royal Infirmary is the centre for this work in the Eastern Region. The Regional Hospital Board intend, however, to establish a clinic at Perth for the initial examination of patients and for follow-up purposes.

Mr. Snadden

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it is a very great hardship to have people going all the way to Dundee from some of the remote parts of Western Perthshire, and is it not possible to instal some apparatus in the Perth Royal Infirmary to meet these people's needs? Must they go to Dundee?

Mr. McNeil

I agree it is a hardship, but it would be a greater hardship if these people were treated with an apparatus of limited capacity when techniques of the highest possible level are available. I could not possibly have all these available in every part of the county. I would plead with the hon. Member to reflect, when perhaps he will agree that this is the best treatment that can be made available for these very sick people.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

As the Perth Royal Infirmary has hitherto held a very high standard for radio-therapy, and as what the right hon. Gentleman intends to set up will be in accordance with that standard, can he give us any idea when it is likely to be established? Will it be within a few months?

Mr. McNeil

I should not like to mislead the hon. and gallant Gentleman. The clinic will be limited to use for initial examination and, after the normal processes of treatment where necessary have been discharged, for what the specialists call the follow-up treatment. It is not the main treatment. That must be given at the main centre in Dundee.