§ 1. Mr. Gregor Mackenzie
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to increase the number of consultative clinics for the elderly in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Edward Taylor)
Specialist clinical services, including these for the elderly, are the responsibility of regional hospital boards who decide from their knowledge of needs and priorities how these services should be deployed or extended. The expanding health centre programme will provide opportunities for the development of special clinics where old people can receive medical advice.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
As the Government have indicated in the public spending paper their intention to increase the number of geriatric beds in hospitals, would it not be wiser to consider doing an exercise on consultative health clinics for the elderly to save the institutionalising of so many people, particularly in the west of Scotland?
The hon. Gentleman has raised an important point, but he will appreciate that progress depends upon the health centre programme. Here we have some very good news to report. As he may know, 17 health centres are in operation at present, 11 are under construction and 60 are at various stages of planning, including, I am glad to say, one at Rutherglen.