HC Deb 25 March 1952 vol 498 cc183-4
16. Mr. A. C. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how far the Scottish regional hospitals boards will be permitted to tender supplementary estimates to cover the increased cost of food arising from the reduction in the food subsidies.

Commander Galbraith

The approved budgets of regional hospital boards allow some margin for rising prices.

Mr. Manuel

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the Scottish regional hospital boards now have a very strict method of audit, which will not allow them to go much beyond their estimates and budget figures agreed upon by the Department and the regional hospital boards; and that, if there is not more flexibility in this position, it will mean that patients are going to have a worse diet and less food than they had under the budget figures?

Commander Galbraith

No, Sir. There is some flexibility allowed.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman assure us that the allegations made—that, already, some of the economies in hospital expenditure have been carried out at the expense of cutting down the food supplies—are unfounded, and that he will give no support to the suggestion that the food of patients especially should be reduced in order to accomplish any cuts in hospital expenditure?

Commander Galbraith

If such statements are made, they are completely and absolutely unfounded. There is no truth in them at all.