HC Deb 14 March 1979 vol 964 cc444-5
15. Sir John Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many ambulances equipped with four-wheel drive are available for use in Scotland; and if he is satisfied that this number is sufficient to afford adequate cover in wintry conditions.

Mr. Harry Ewing

We have 54 four-wheel drive ambulances available and they afford adequate cover.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there were many occasions during the first two months of this year when many roads were passable only by four-wheel drive vehicles? Is he really satisfied that the number is adequate?

Mr. Ewing

We are advised on this matter by the Scottish ambulance service, and it is true, as the hon. Gentleman said, that these vehicles are at their best in bad weather conditions and on long journeys over class B roads. The Scottish ambulance service is satisfied that the 54 vehicles available to it at the moment are adequate to meet its needs.

Mr. Watt

Does the Minister realise that the best way to avoid long journeys on dangerous roads is to stop the closure of many of our local hospitals?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is stretching the question.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

Is the Minister aware that it might not matter how many four-wheel drive ambulances there are in Scotland shortly if the threat by the National Union of Public Employees in Scotland, which we have heard about today, is carried out? That will virtually close all Scottish hospitals this week. Can he assure the House that—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The same rule applies to the Front Bench as to the Back Benches. The hon. Member is also stretching the question.

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