HC Deb 19 June 1991 vol 193 cc289-90
13. Mrs. Irene Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the present state of the implementation of the proposals for the provision of magnetic resonance imager scanning equipment for hospitals in Scotland.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

An order for five new magnetic resonance imagers, at a cost of ³4.3 million, has been placed with Siemens UK. Those machines are now being manufactured and site surveys have been carried out at the hospitals chosen.

Mrs. Adams

Is it not the case that, to save money, the Minister approved the purchase of 0.5 Tezler MRI scanners? As the hon. Gentleman probably knows, those scanners are totally inadequate for head scanning. Greater Glasgow health board had to top up money to buy the more adequate 1.5 Tezler scanners. Is the Minister satisfied that in Aberdeen and Dundee, where 0.5 Tezler scanners were also purchased, those scanners are adequate? Would it not have been better to look into the matter more thoroughly and, instead of saving money, to go for the best rather than the cheapest?

Mr. Forsyth

The answer to the hon. Lady's question is no. Clearly, I am relying on medical advice in this matter. I have been given the advice that the machines purchased were adequate for health service needs, but some health boards have sought to get models with more powerful magnetic fields—[Horn. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because of particular needs that they have.

This matter has been drawn to my attention as a result of the hon. Lady's question and I shall inquire to ensure that the advice that I have been given was correct. In addition to the ³4.3 million for those machines, which I hope that the hon. Lady welcomes, we shall also meet the additional costs of installation that the boards will face. If what the hon. Lady suggests were the case—if the 0.5 Tezler machines were not adequate—I assure her that I would seek to have the position changed, but that is not my information.