HC Deb 02 December 1997 vol 302 c150
6. Mr. Eric Clarke

When he expects construction of the new Midlothian community hospital to commence. [17095]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Sam Galbraith)

I understand that the East and Midlothian NHS trust expects to submit a revised outline business case for the hospital to the NHS management executive by the end of this month.

Mr. Clarke

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. I hope that he is aware that Midlothian is the poor relation in terms of medical facilities. We have two hospitals: the Rosslynlee, which is a mental hospital and is due for closure, and a geriatric hospital in Loanhead, which is due to be refurbished or replaced. As Edinburgh's Eastern general, Northern general and City hospitals, as well as the Princess Margaret Rose hospital, may close as well, my constituents are worried. They are not only poor; many are disabled, and to go to St. John's in Livingston or to the Western general in Edinburgh is an ordeal. I hope that my hon. Friend will give the utmost priority to the new hospital, which is badly needed in Midlothian.

Mr. Galbraith

I think I can give my hon. Friend an absolute assurance that no hospital will close until suitable alternative facilities are in place. The timing for development of the new hospital is a matter for the trust and the board, but I know that, with a doughty fighter such as him taking up an interest, the hospital will progress as quickly as possible.