§ 18. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of proposals to reduce the number of geriatric beds available in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy; and what action he proposes to change this decision.
§ Mr. Monro
Yes. There is an urgent need for additional beds for orthopaedic surgery in the area which can be provided only at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy and the regional hospital board proposes to use 16 geriatric assessment beds for this purpose. The change of use will not take place until 35 additional geriatric beds have been made available at Cameron Hospital by adaptation of existing accommodation.
§ Mr. Gourlay
While we appreciate the additional beds envisaged, is the hon. Gentleman aware that the matter has been under discussion for more than a year, which in no way indicates the urgency of the problem in Fife, where old 459 people are dying in tragic and distressing circumstances before they can be admitted to geriatric beds? Will he therefore press the regional hospital board to deal with the matter as one of extreme urgency and get the beds as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Monro
I am aware of the urgency as a result of the deputation the hon. Gentleman led to meet me at St. Andrew's House. It is in 1973 that the adaptation of beds will take place. In the long-term programme there are 275 beds to be provided for geriatric patients in Fife. They will go a long way to alleviating the problem. We are not forgetting the urgency.