HC Deb 31 January 1962 vol 652 cc1087-8
33. Dr. A. Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give instructions for the children's unit at Milesmark Hospital, Dunfermline, to be reopened.

Mr. Galbraith

The hon. Member has provided particulars of two cases where there was delay in arranging for children to go to alternative hospitals, and my right hon. Friend is investigating the circumstances with the hospital authorities. The interests of seriously ill children are, however, not served by dispersing provision beyond the point at which adequate specialised staff and supporting facilities can be maintained, and the extended use of Milesmark for old people is very desirable.

Dr. Thompson

I am not quite sure what the Answer means, but may I say that there is widespread indignation in my constituency by the local authority, by doctors and general practitioners, and by patients at the closing of their children's unit? It means that now they sometimes have to cross the ferry for examination at centres as far distant as Leith. Will the hon. Gentleman look into this point of making available again this small children's unit—of only 12 beds, I think—at Milesmark Hospital?

Mr. Galbraith

I do not think I can go as far as that. It may be that those in the hon. Gentleman's constituency who are indignant will be glad to hear that the regional board is looking into the possibilities of first-aid treatment of actually ill children where there may be delay due to transport difficulties.

Mr. W. Hamilton

What reply has the hon. Gentleman made to the protests from general practitioners in the area about the very serious effects of the closure of this hospital? Does he recognise that there is in central West Fife widespread indignation and anger at the crumbs which have fallen from the Secretary of State's table in his recently announced hospital programme?

Mr. Galbraith

I am not aware of what was said in the second part of the supplementary question, and as for the first, I should require notice.