§ 6. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the disclosures during the recent trial in the High Court, Edinburgh, of apparent irregularities, he will consider instituting a public inquiry into the administrative procedures of the East Fife hospital board of management, and also the use of hospital facilities for the private patients of consultants.
§ 34. Mr. Adam Hunter
asked the Secretary of State for Scotaland if, in view of the public concern arising from recent 1558 events, he will consider instituting a public inquiry into the administrative procedures of the Dunfermline and West Fife hospital board of management, and into the use of hospital facilities for the private patients of consultants.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Hector Monro)
My right hon. Friend will await the report of the inquiry being undertaken by the South-Eastern Regional Hospital Board which has already been announced before deciding whether any further inquiry is necessary.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that this initial operation is a purely whitewashing exercise and is not acceptable? In view of the disclosure of apparent irregularities, implicating a member of the board of management and other consultants, during the trial in Edinburgh, only a public inquiry to ascertain the facts will allay the great public concern on this matter. Further, will the investigation go into the free use of hospital facilities for the private patients of consultants? Will the hon. Gentleman be more explicit on that point?
§ Mr. Monro
The form of the inquiry was given careful consideration and in all the circumstances it was decided that in the first instance it should be by the regional hospital board. The answer to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question is "Yes", it will look into the relationship of private practice and the hospital.
§ Mr. Hunter
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that recent Press reports of the trial in Edinburgh have caused great disquiet among people interested in the health service in my area? Will he obtain a copy of the transcript of the court proceedings and, after careful study, judge for himself whether a probe is necessary—preferably a public inquiry?
§ Mr. Monro
I appreciate the hon. Member's concern. That is why we have set up an inquiry. We decided right away to do so during the trial, though not before a decision was reached. The person concerned has appealed against the conviction and this will cause some delay 1559 in the inquiry, but no more than we can possibly prevent.