HC Deb 24 May 1995 vol 260 cc887-8
3. Mr. Tom Clarke

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to visit Monklands hospital trust; and if he will make a statement. [24224]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans to visit the Monklands and Bellshill hospitals NHS trust. However, my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State meets the chairmen of trusts regularly, when a range of issues are discussed.

Mr. Clarke

Does the Minister agree that the national health service staff in Monklands should continue to consider themselves as such, employed by a national health service trust and enjoying national terms and conditions within the national health service? Alternatively, are the Government planning to privatise such services in Monklands and elsewhere in Scotland, as they already plan to do at Stonehaven? Does the Minister agree that national health service Scotland funding should be on the basis of the British Government making resources available, based on national negotiations, and should not exploit people who offer themselves for employment in poor areas with great health problems? Finally, does the Minister accept that from Coatbridge to Kinross and from Perth to Peebles, people want the national health service that we once enjoyed, and that is being slowly destroyed by the present Government?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Some £4,000 million is being made available to the NHS in Scotland this year. That is a record figure, constituting an increase of £143 million. The hon. Gentleman will also be encouraged to learn that the new chairman of Monklands NHS trust is Mr. David Millan, the well-known former chief executive of Cumbernauld development corporation.

I endorse what the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) said in January: We are not opposed to public/private partnerships—they bring in much needed money for the NHS". The test must be the provision of a better standard of care for NHS patients. I can confirm that, with private sector involvement, as with all NHS projects, NHS providers will be asked to seek private finance to design, build and service any new facilities.

The hon. Gentleman will be glad to learn that Monklands and Bellshill NHS hospitals trust has made an offer of 3 per cent., subject to certain conditions.

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