HC Deb 18 March 1970 vol 798 cc384-5
29. Mr. McElhone

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take action to reduce the delay in providing a health centre in Gorbals, Glasgow.

Mr. Millan

I regret that the provision of the Gorbals health centre has unavoidably been delayed, mainly owing to site difficulties which have only recently been resolved. The preparation of sketch plans is now in hand and potential users will be consulted about them as soon as possible.

Mr. McElhone

While I pay tribute to the Government's health centre programme in Scotland, does not my hon. Friend agree that the delay is quite shocking, especially as the site was made available in June, 1966? Does he not also agree that because of redevelopment many doctors are leaving the Gorbals area, making it very difficult for many of my constituents, especially old-age pensioners, to reach their doctors? Will he take immediate action to get the project started?

Mr. Millan

There has been a series of delays in this matter. I regret them very much. But not all of them are the Government's responsibility. Many of them have arisen from problems of redevelopment, for which no blame attaches to anyone. For example, it is only within the past few days that we have been informed by the Corporation that we shall have an additional strip of land available, which will mean a change of plan, but which we think at the end of the day will give us a rather better final solution. Certainly, I want work on the health centre to be pressed ahead as quickly as possible.

Dr. Miller

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that the provision of health centres in general will not be jeopardised by the delay with this centre, and that the programme envisaged for health centre development, which is essential in Glasgow and in Scotland, will go ahead?

Mr. Millan

Certainly the programme is going ahead. The progress is very good indeed, as I indicated recently in answer to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson). Special problems have arisen in Glasgow, largely out of the general programme for the redevelopment areas.