HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc495-6
14. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to review the hospital building programme in the light of representations made to him in the last two months.

Mr. Milian

Proposals submitted by the five regional hospital boards for schemes to be included in the hospital building programme for the period after March, 1972, are being considered and all representations received are being taken into account. When my right hon. Friend has completed his study of the proposals and representations there will be discussions with regional hospital boards; thereafter the programme will be announced.

Mr. Hamilton

Will my hon. Friend tell us what representations he has received from Edinburgh and West Fife respectively in the last two months? Will he give an assurance that no priority will be given to the central part of the South-East Regional Hospital Board at the expense of the peripheral localities like West Fife? Is he aware that we are fed up with this kind of allocation of resources? His visit to West Fife should have convinced him of the extreme urgency of getting a new hospital there.

Mr. Milan

I have had representations both about the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and about the West Fife Hospitals, the latter when I visited Dunfermline last week. There is the problem of striking a satisfactory balance between the needs of the teaching hospitals and those of the district general hospitals. My hon. Friend should bear in mind that teaching hospitals have certain responsibilities for the whole of a regional board area as well as a purely local responsibility. The balance of that consideration and the need in West Fife and elsewhere for district general hospitals will be taken into account as we consider the proposals of the regional board.

Mr. Stodart

Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that particular attention is being paid to the representations made to him by many sections of the medical profession, general practitioners in particular, about the need if not for carrying out the full plan for rebuilding the Western General Hospital, at least for dealing with the maternity unit there?

Mr. Milian

I am paying particular attention to all the representations I have received.