HC Deb 01 December 1960 vol 631 cc696-711

8.56 p.m.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

Coming from a Scottish constituency, I am pleased to say that, although from time to time Scottish Members get into difficulties with the Lord Advocate, I have never known any of my hon. Friends to be faced by him with a proposition such as that which has been put to my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) tonight. I have never heard anything like it. The Scots would never stand for it.

I have notified the Secretary of State for Scotland of the matter which I wish to raise tonight. I am pleased to see the Joint Under-Secretary of State present. Scottish Members are conscious of the importance of Scottish problems and issues in this House. I wish to raise a serious problem which arises in a very important burgh in Scotland, Clydebank. In that burgh there are some very prominent industries. There is one of the finest shipbuilding yards in the world, John Brown & Co. Ltd. There is also the Singer Sewing Machine Company, which is an American subsidiary, and several other industries. The population of over 50,000 is made up almost entirely of working-class people. Nearly all of the thousands of houses in Clydebank are of three or four rooms. It is a burgh of artisan type houses. Very few families live in big houses. There is a large proportion of young people.

In spite of the large population, there are no maternity hospital facilities. I understand that the hospital at Overton in Dunbarton is to close. I believe that it was established by a famous Glasgow chemical manufacturer by the name of White. He built it as his private residence. He employed women and girls in his factory, where I understand that the expectation of life was about twelve years. The workers used to die of phosphorus jaw. It is appropriate that in the 20th century his house should be used as a maternity hospital to bring children into the world.

As I have said, this maternity hospital is to close, and the mothers of Clydebank will have to go to the Vale of Leven. That is about 20 miles from Clydebank. The other alternative is to go into Glasgow. In Clydebank we feel that we should have a hospital service if not in the burgh at least on the doorstep. With respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele), Dumbarton is a very pleasant town but it is not so important industrially as Clydebank.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

Oh, no.

Mr. Bence

My hon. Friend will not accept that, but that is how we in Clydebank feel We think that we are entitled to more hospital services in the burgh.

I feel that there ought to be a general hospital service in or nearer to the burgh than the service provided in Glasgow. We tried to run a voluntary service in Clydebank by co-operating with the owners of motor cars who agreed to take people to hospital in Glasgow or to the Vale of Leven when no ambulance service was available. Now we have an ambulance service; but more than that, if the motor car owners or their wives volunteer to drive, we can get patients taken to the Western Infirmary when an ambulance cannot be obtained.

Although the Western Regional Hospital Board has given assurances that it intends to provide additional services to cover the burgh, so far as we can see these hospitals will be well out into the county and we shall still have to take patients to Glasgow. There is a hospital at Hardgate which was used for tuberculosis patients and I am wondering whether it could be converted into a maternity hospital. I do not know what is the situation, but I make that suggestion.

It was only about an hour ago that I had it in mind to raise this matter, as the opportunity had occurred. Having spent ten years in Scotland, I have learned from the Scots to watch the situation and to take advantage of the English whenever I can. I thank my hon. Friends for their tuition and I make no apology for raising this matter tonight. There is nothing like acquiring virtues from the people among whom one lives, especially if they are good virtues. So I have taken the opportunity to raise what to Clydebank is a very important matter.

There is another complaint in Clydebank about clinical facilities. I understand that such facilities are under the control of the town council. I am told that there is one pre-natal clinic in Clydebank where the waiting-room accommodation is so shocking that young expectant mothers will not go there. In such a burgh as Clydebank where so much is being done in other directions I think that the Department of Health should put some punch and drive into the effort to bring up to date the general amenities and clinical facilities of the hospitals.

In many ways the town council has done excellent work, for example, in welfare facilities for old people, and I have no doubt that in 1961 or 1962 it will be prepared to do a great deal more for the welfare of the burgh provided that it is not further impoverished by the operation of certain financial provisions and the new rating and valuation legislation.

But with the operation of the present Administration, and with the passage of legislation relating to financial provisions in Scotland and the rating and valuation legislation, it may be that the council will be somewhat inhibited about what it may plunge into during the coming years. There is also to be considered the operation of the block grant system, and the fear of loss of funds through the equalisation grant operations which worries the council. It seems a shame that we should have so much which is progressive in a burgh like Clydebank while at the same time, because of the fear of all sorts of things, progress is prevented in the way of providing such things as hospital services.

This is particularly the case in a burgh where we have one of the finest shipyards in the world, a shipyard that has built the biggest liners in the world, and which is in a position today, immediately the Government give the word, to build another of the finest liners in the world. We also have the Singer Sewing Machine Company, with a very large plant, which contributes immensely to the British export trade, and which has a very large employment roll of young women machine operators, who are all liable to minor accidents, and with no hospital in the vicinity.

I ask the hon. Gentleman to give consideration to some of the points I have raised, and I hope that many of my hon. Friends will deal with the problems with which their own localities are faced. I also hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will in due course see if he can put some punch into the expansion of hospitals for industrial burghs in Scotland.

9.17 p.m.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

We are indeed grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) for his quickness in seizing and using an opportunity to put forward a matter that has been concerning the people of his burgh.

I am surprised, indeed I am a bit alarmed, to hear this news that there is a possibility of the closure of this maternity hospital accommodation so that these people will have to be taken to Glasgow. I had been led to believe from a debate in the House that there was considerable concern about the shortage of maternity hospital accommodation in Glasgow, and yet we are faced with this new demand on this already limited service, which is not likely to be very easy of solution. I can well appreciate my hon. Friend's concern. There are certain things happening in the hospital world and through the regional hospital boards which are causing concern in the part of the world which I represent.

I am going to take the Joint Under-Secretary a wee bit nearer home—to Ballochmyle Hospital. I do not think we could take the hon. Gentleman much nearer his own home than that. Concern has been expressed in the West of Scotland, and particularly in Ayrshire, because here we have a hospital sited right on the edge of a coal field, a hospital which has built up a tremendous reputation, and which deals with the accidents and casualties Which inevitably happen in an area like that. It is right there on the spot to deal with them. Now we are faced with the possibility of the casualty ward of Ballochmyle Hospital being closed. This means that if there is any accident in the mining areas, and I am not talking of disasters, but the day-to-day kind of accidents that happen there, the injured miner will have to be taken along a road, past a hospital, eight or ten miles to Glasgow Infirmary. Nobody is satisfied, certainly not the miners of Ayrshire, that this is wise in the circumstances, and I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary will be able to tell me something about it. I have sent him a letter on this matter, so it should not come exactly as a surprise to him.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

Order. The hon. Member mentions the matter of surprise. I should like to say that I called the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) on the understanding that he had given notice to the Department of the particular subject which he was going to raise, and that the Department was prepared to reply to it, and that I believe to be the case. If the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) raises a different subject, it would not be fair to expect the Department to be armed with a reply, unless he has given due notice, but he is quite in order in speaking on the Motion for the Adjournment.

Mr. Ross

I was just waiting to hear the last three words, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, because I was quite well aware of that fact. I am in order. I am raising a point, and I am bringing it to the notice of the Minister. He has already been made aware of the matter by letter and I am using this opportunity to reinforce and bring once more to his notice a matter that concerns that part of the country. If the Joint Under-Secretary wants another matter to worry him about hospitals, I am perfectly sure that if my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) were here he would be developing a case for a maternity service in the area of Catrine and Mauchline.

I want the Joint Under-Secretary to appreciate the importance that it attached by miners and others who live in the area to the question of closing the casualty ward at this hospital. I do not want to labour the point, because the hon. Gentleman knows the area and knows what I am saying is true about the facilities that might be required right away in order to save a life. Indeed, the extension of that journey from the scene of the accident to an available hospital might be a matter of life or death. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will interest himself in this and if possible have the decision changed and that, whatever rearrangements may have to be made in the regional board's facilities, the casualty ward will be retained.

9.11 p.m.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Scotstoun)

I wish to take the opportunity, and I have already advised the Joint Under-Secretary of the matter, to raise an issue which affects my constituency—

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

On a point of order. I understood that two separate subjects were to be raised on two separate Motions for the Adjournment and I think that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Scotstoun (Mr. Small) is moving on to the second subject to which my right hon. Friend intended to reply.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

There is, of course, only one Adjournment Motion, but we can certainly take it piecemeal if that is for the convenience of the House, but hon. Members can speak only once on the Question, "That this House do now adjourn". The hon. Member for Scotstoun has the Floor.

Mr. Small

I will leave the matter till later.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

On a point of order. If my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Scotstoun (Mr. Small), who had already risen after being called and had started to speak, now in deference to a point raised by the Joint Under-Secretary resumes his seat, will he be able to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, or is it possible for you to call him later in the debate on the Question, "That this House do now adjourn"? I am seeking to protect my hon. Friend's rights.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I fully appreciate the position. As I see it, it would be within the power of the House to grant leave for an hon. Member to speak again, but, of course, if somebody objects to that there is nothing that the Chair can do.

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

I am very glad that this opportunity has been given to me to speak in a debate which was started by my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence). We are very fortunate in West Dunbartonshire in that we have the only new hospital which has been built in Scotland since the end of the war. It was built not by the regional board, but under Civil Defence arrangements for dealing with casualities from Glasgow and the surrounding areas. I have raised this matter in the House on a number of occasions. The first time I did so was because we had a hospital which was beautifully furnished and fully equipped down to the last bedpan but we did not have a patient. It was standing there unused while people in the West of Scotland were crying out for hospital accommodation and for hospital beds.

It was finally agreed that it should be used, and it is now proving a wonderful benefit to the people in my area and also to those who live in East Dunbartonshire. If we had not been successful in getting this hospital used in this way, my colleagues would by this time have had a hospital in Clydebank. For some time I have been in touch with the Minister about this hospital. It was built for Civil Defence purposes and the amenities are not those which are necessary for it to be used as a general hospital. It has, however, now become a general hospital dealing with many out-patients, and the facilities and amenities are inadequate.

I have already discussed this with the Scottish Office. The predecessor of the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland visited the hospital, and I discussed the matter with him there. It is generally agreed that something ought to be done, but so far nothing has been done. The hospital has no real facilities for dealing with out-patients. It seems rather odd that we should have this wonderful new hospital which is proving a boon and a benefit to my constituents and others who have to stay in hospital, yet there are not adequate facilities to deal with the out-patients.

I have pleaded with the Minister to get something done about this, but so far without success. I should like the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to give us an assurance that he will give his personal attention to this matter and will try to do something which is badly needed for the benefit of those who are treated as out-patients.

9.18 p.m.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

I wish to add a sentence or two to the case being made to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland regarding the health services, and to mention in particular the need for more maternity beds in Glasgow.

On 15th November, 1960, I asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress was being made in the provision of these beds in order to overcome the gap between what the Montgomery Report said was necessary in Glasgow and the actual situation. The Joint Under-Secretary replied: The regional hospital board expects to open 90 additional beds next year"— I presume that is 1961— and is continuing to explore"— may I interpolate that I almost expected the words "every avenue"— other possibilities of providing additional beds urgently, in advance of the completion of the new Yorkhill Maternity Hospital."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Tuesday, 15th November, 1960; Vol. 630, c. 19.] These facts were known to the Department a year ago when my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Gorbals (Mrs. Cullen) and I spoke in an Adjournment debate drawing attention to this grave disparity.

Since then, the medical officer of health for Glasgow has issued his annual report in which he says: The outstanding weakness in Glasgow is the deficiency in maternity hospital accommodation. The Committee on Health and Welfare have continued to urge the Government and the Regional Hospital Board, and plans have been formulated by the Board for new maternity hospitals and for the provision of maternity beds in existing hospitals. The Under-Secretary must pay close attention to the next sentence: Up to date not one additional bed has been provided, although some 90 beds are due to be available within a period of six months. In spite of the Under-Secretary's reply to the Adjournment debate of a year ago, not a single bed has been provided.

That is not worthy of the society in which we live. If this is an affluent society, if we have never had it so good, then there are many anxious mothers and fathers-to-be who are most concerned about the lack of maternity hospital accommodation in Glasgow. Will the Under-Secretary make a further statement on this matter? It is simply not good enough that he should ride away on phrases about every avenue being explored and every attempt being made. Of the four cities in Scotland, Glasgow's provision of maternity beds is the worst.

Mr. Bence

And on Clydebank.

Mr. Hannan

That is not to say that it is the fault of the local authority or its excellent medical officer of health. The Montgomery Report was absolutely clear about this shortage of 146 beds. A year ago, the Under-Secretary said that within 18 months the number of beds would be increased to 790, rising to about 900 within two or three years. A year ago he said: To some extent, therefore, the present problem in Glasgow is one of regulating admission in such a way as to admit those cases which require admission on medical and on social grounds."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th December, 1959; Vol. 615, c. 1736.] He was suggesting that there should be some discrimination simply because the beds available were not sufficient to meet all cases. I know of cases being taken to areas outside Glasgow, to places like Paisley, in order to relieve the pressure.

I hope that the Under-Secretary will be able to give some explanation about what efforts are being made and will be able to say that within a very short time extra maternity bed provision will be made in Glasgow.

9.24 p.m.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

It is not surprising that all the hon. Members who have spoken in this debate have come from the West of Scotland, that area which is covered by the Western Regional Hospital Board, an area in which more than half the population of Scotland resides.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) initiated the debate because of the threat of the closure of a maternity hospital in his area. I have no idea why the Board has decided to close that hospital. My hon. Friend said that it is suggested that maternity cases should go either to the Vale of Leven, which is twenty miles away, or to Glasgow.

I am certain that all medical opinion would be against a crowded area like Clydebank having to depend for its maternity bed accommodation on a hospital twenty miles away. Sometimes cases are urgent, and a distance like that might involve the loss of both mother and child. The other proposition was answered by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan).

A year ago, we debated maternity provision and the suggestions of the Montgomery Report. In many areas in Scotland we have far fewer than the number of beds which the Montgomery Report said were absolutely essential for the safety of mothers and children. The Joint Under-Secretary may not be able to reply tonight. He has been given very little time to consider this matter and we do not expect him to give a full reply on all these matters. What I hope will happen as a result of this debate is that he will be seized of the urgency of this question of a much better supply of maternity beds, particularly in the West of Scotland.

My hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) on a number of occasions has asked Qusetions on the provision of maternity beds at Hairmyres Hospital. There is a hospital where it seems, with very little organisation, there could be a quick provision of extra maternity beds. That hospital would serve the new town of East Kilbride. East Kilbride, like most of the new towns, has a large population of young married couples and a high birth rate. The last Answer given to a Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark was very weak indeed. I feel that the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary are not seized of the seriousness of the situation.

Not many weeks ago, a pronouncement was made in Glasgow limiting the types of cases which would have any chance of getting into hospital for the birth of a child. That got much Press publicity and a great deal of criticism. It is not only that those who ought to go into hospital for the bearing of a child are not going in, but that many who do go in have to come out again far too quickly so that they may leave beds vacant for other mothers. The situation is very serious.

I come to a completely different matter which I have raised on a number of occasions. We are short of maternity beds and there is an even more scandalous state of affairs in the west of Scotland in the lack of provision for treatment of rheumatism and research into rheumatism. In an Adjournment debate some time ago we were promised that something would be done about this. I raised the matter in Questions and I received the answer that it was possible—there was no guarantee—by the end of 1961 that provision could be made in the Baird Street Clinic.

I want to know if all the negotiations have been completed in this matter. Is the clinic being changed to provide fifty beds for the treatment of rheumatism? The west of Scotland has more than its share of rheumatism in the United Kingdom. If negotiations between the two bodies have finished, it is disgraceful that it is to take more than a year to get that clinic ready for treatment of and research into rheumatism. Our people feel very strongly about these matters.

The last point I raise is the question of Law Hospital. That has had much Press publicity in our area. It affects the people in Lanark, in the landward area, much more than in other parts of Lanarkshire. There are very grave fears that that hospital—which was built as an emergency hospital and which in a very short time has made an excellent name for itself and proved an invaluable help to the area—is either to disappear altogether or is to be relegated to the status of a third-rate hospital rather than a good general hospital which it is at present. The Joint Under-Secretary may be aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark and I, with representatives from the two district councils concerned, are meeting representatives of the Western Regional Hospital Board on the 9th of this month to discuss this matter.

My last question is, what liaison is there between the Ministers and regional boards or between the Department of Health for Scotland and regional boards? Hon. Members worried about these matters are, it seems, shuttled between the Minister and the boards. We are told that the Minister is not responsible for certain things and that we have to give the boards their head I wish the Government would accept that procedure for our local authorities where there is so much interference. There seems to be something wrong with this liaison.

Possibly there are very good people working on the Western Regional Hospital Board. They are giving their time voluntarily and I should not like to derogate at all what they are doing, but there seems a lack somewhere in the close co-ordination of the service which ought to be provided and the priorities to which they should have regard. If that is the case, the Secretary of State, who is Minister of Health for Scotland, ought not to have to wait until hon. Members on this side of the House start urging him to do something.

This has been a short debate, but I am certain that it will have served a useful purpose.

9.33 p.m.

The Joint Under Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

This debate has turned out to be rather more general than I had at first expected. The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) spoke on difficulties in Clydebank. The hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) spoke of difficulties at one of the hospitals in his constituency and then the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) took me, as he rightly said, very near to my home. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) reverted to maternity problems and the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) touched on that and asked a number of other questions.

As the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East pointed out, there was only about an hour's warning that this debate was to take place. I said that I should be very willing to reply, not because I thought that I would be able to give a good reply at such short notice, but as an act of courtesy to the hon. Member so that he would have an opportunity of stating his case; and that I should do the best I could to obtain the necessary information on those points which I cannot answer now

Of course, what applies to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East applies even more strongly to other hon. Members who have joined with him in taking this opportunity to raise points concerning their constituencies. I have no doubt that the problem raised by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East is extremely important, and it is one to which the Government have given thought and on which my right hon. Friend has a great deal of sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman says.

The hon. Lady drew attention to the difficulty that where a local need is drawn to the Government's attention, the question arises as to what they should do about it. Of course, the Government have to have regard to the local need against the background of the national position and the resources that are available. Indeed, what the Government have to do is to try to find a balance between the demands of various regions and the total resources which the Government think are available. Therefore, we have created this framework in which the National Health Service works. The general overall plan is arranged by the Department of Health for Scotland, the plan in the localities by the regional hospital boards, and, lower down than that still, by the Board of Management for each hospital.

The Western Regional Hospital Board is, as I think all hon. Members know, responsible for planning the hospital service in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. This will not satisfy the hon. Lady, but it is the case that my right hon. Friend would not wish to interfere unduly with its discretion and decisions as to which projects should have priority. As the hon. Lady has pointed out—when we were dealing with local authority matters—the gentlemen in St. Andrew's House do not always know best. Nevertheless, my right hon. Friend keeps his eye on the overall picture and he is satisfied that the authorised programme of new construction in the Western Region will provide within a reasonable time all the beds that are necessary.

The argument comes down to what is or what is not a reasonable time. The House may want to have more particulars of what the regional hospital board is in fact planning, particularly with regard to maternity cases about which the hon. Member for Maryhill spoke so feelingly. Schemes under construction at the moment will provide a total of 90 beds within a year, and 110 more beds will be provided by the end of 1964 at Yorkhill Maternity Hospital. This will bring the city and its environments—this is important to the point raised by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East—up to the Montgomery level and promote some reduction of bed complements in the older units in about three-and-a-half years from now.

Mr. Bence

The hon. Gentleman said "three-and-a-half years from now". Is he referring to Maryhill? Surely, on the west side of Scotland, with the huge development at Faifley, it would be more appropriate to have a maternity hospital in Drumchapel, which is now part of my hon. Friend's constituency where there is an enormously growing population. Why extend only on the east side? We want more on the west side as well.

Mr. Galbraith

I should like to refer to this problem of Clydebank itself as distinct from the wider constitutional position of my right hon. Friend in relation to particular local schemes. It is perfectly true that the regional board has no proposals involving new hospital buildings actually within the boundaries of Clydebank.

General hospital facilities—and this is the point about which the hon. Member is quarrelling—are provided in the area by the regional board at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, where extensive development is planned. I point out to him that that is within five miles of Clydebank. There is also the new unit at Yorkhill, to which I have referred; although it is designed primarily for Glasgow, it will provide some assistance for Clydebank. Dunbartonshire will also obtain some relief from the new maternity unit being planned for the Vale of Leven, at Alexandria.

Mr. Bence

Too far away.

Mr. Galbraith

The hon. Member may say that it is too far away, but it is much better than nothing.

Miss Herbison

It surprises me when the hon. Member says that provision at the Vale of Leven is much better than nothing. Surely even a Tory Government has a higher standard than something slightly better than nothing. That has been the complaint of hon. Members on this side of the House. These figures are thrown at us about educational building, house building and hospital building. It is "pie in the sky sometime." What our people want is this provision for maternity accommodation as soon as is humanly possible.

Mr. Galbraith

I agree entirely with the hon. Lady. Perhaps I made a mistake and used the wrong word. She says that our people want this provision as soon as humanly possible. I am trying to persuade the House that what is being provided is being provided as soon as is humanly possible.

The hon. Member referred to outpatient facilities. The regional board is considering proposals to provide an outpatients department at the Vale of Leven. The hon. Member may say that that is too far away but I cannot agree. The regional board is also considering the possible change of use—and I hope I may be forgiven if I mispronounce the name of this hospital—of the Blawarthill Hospital. I believe that it is in Glasgow, and it is very near Clydebank. Indeed, before the appointed day it belonged to Clydebank burgh. Its functions may be changed from infectious diseases to the chronic sick, and I think that that might help the hon. Member in his concern about old and frail people.

Mr. Bence

I did not speak of that.

Mr. Galbraith

In part of his speech the hon. Member referred, I think, to this point.

I realise that I have not dealt as fully as I would like with all the points which have been raised, but I have tried to show that the matter is not as static as some hon. Members have tried to indicate. The provision of maternity beds, which is what the hon. Member for Maryhill and other hon. Members are particularly concerned about, is moving forward, perhaps not as quickly as hon. Members would like but nevertheless moving forward. Although the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East wishes to have hospitals within his own burgh—a feeling with which I fully sympathise—he must realise that in an area such as Glasgow and its immediate environments it may often be better to have a larger and well-equipped hospital at the centre than a hospital on the outskirts of his own constituency.

Mr. Hannan

The hon. Member has given me the same reply tonight as he gave a year ago. He has said that things are not static, but this medical officer in Glasgow said that not one more bed had been provided. What can he tell us to show that the position is not static?

Mr. Galbraith

It may be that not one more bed has been provided, but the foundations and the building which will enable the beds to be provided are going up. Surely that is what the hon. Member must recognise.

Miss Herbison

I did not expect the hon. Member to give me a reply about Baird Street Clinic tonight, but will he tell me as soon as possible the reason for the hold-up there?

Mr. Galbraith

The hon. Lady spoke to me about that a few days ago. I have had inquiries made and I am sorry that I have not yet obtained the answer. I had intended to let her know the result when I obtained the answer, quite apart from this debate.

Mr. Ross

Will the hon. Gentleman assure me that he has in mind the question of Ballochmyle Hospital and the casualty ward?

Mr. Galbraith

The same comment applies to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock. I am sorry that my inquiries on that matter are not yet concluded.