HC Deb 16 July 1969 vol 787 cc589-90
14. Mr. David Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to announce the starting date for the building of the new general hospital for the Borders on the site recently acquired for the purpose near Melrose.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Bruce Millan)

I am unable to add to the reply given to the hon. Gentleman on 12th March.—[Vol. 779, c. 285.]

Mr. Steel

Will the hon. Gentleman accept that there is growing concern in the Borders that if economic development goes ahead, as we hope it will, it will be necessary to replace this old wood-hutted hospital with something approaching modern requirements? Will he accept that the doctors and nurses do a remarkable job in this hospital in what are really very bad sub-standard conditions?

Mr. Millan

I do not know that I would accept the description of this as being a very bad sub-standard hospital. I do agree that this hospital ought to be replaced. We have in mind the economic development in the Borders as one of the factors to be taken into account in determining a priority for it.

Earl of Dalkeith

What capital expenditure has there been on this site so tar, and what does it represent in terms of annual interest so long as it is not built on?

Mr. Millan

About £1,000 per bed has been spent on this hospital in the last twenty years. Compared with other hospitals in Scotland, it has not been badly treated from that point of view.