HC Deb 07 February 1979 vol 962 cc387-9
17. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for the future development of the Western infirmary, Glasgow.

Mr. Harry Ewing

The Greater Glasgow health board and Glasgow university have agreed that the phase II development originally planned for the Western infirmary site should not now proceed. A unified medical teaching campus and the acute beds required for the Western district, together with the services appropriate to a major teaching hospital—about 720 acute beds in all—will be developed on the Gartnavel site.

The use to be made of phase I on the Western infirmary site has yet to be decided, but account will be taken, among other things, of the proximity of the science-based university departments at Gilmorehill.

Mr. Galbraith

Why does the Under-Secretary of State keep on washing his hands like Pontius Pilate and hiding behind the Glasgow hospital board as if he had no responsibility for the proper development of hospital services in Scotland? Can he imagine a better set-up for a teaching hospital than existed with the Western infirmary next to the university? Surely any change from that is planning madness. Will he explain why he has concurred with that madness, or is he responsible for it?

Mr. Ewing

I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman. I do not wash my hands of this matter. In fact, I raised this matter with the Greater Glasgow health board on 4 October 1976. If acute and geriatric long-stay services are to be developed properly in Glasgow against the background of a declining population, they will have to be done in that way. That is why I agree with the joint decision of the university and the Greater Glasgow health board.

Mr. Carmichael

Does my hon. Friend accept that that will be welcomed in the west end of Glasgow? Does he agree that the long and almost intolerable delay in making a decision was caused by the most appalling medical politics? I am sure everyone is pleased that a decision has been made. May I suggest that perhaps part of the Western infirmary which will now not be fully utilised be made the new Partick health centre?

Mr. Ewing

I know that my hon. Friend is very concerned about the Partick health centre. I, too, am concerned about a decent site for the Partick health centre, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his earlier comments. The future use of the Western infirmary will be subject to consideration by a joint planning team of the health board and Glasgow university, and we shall see what comes from that.