HC Deb 15 July 1997 vol 298 cc188-9
11. Mr. Russell Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to reduce the number of health boards and trusts in Scotland. [6702]

Mr. Galbraith

I certainly intend to reduce the number of trusts, but I have no master plan. All proposals that are sensible, involve clinicians, are supported by local health boards, and will improve clinical links between hospitals and between hospitals and primary care, will be considered on their merits. I have no immediate plans to change the number of health boards in Scotland.

Mr. Brown

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. My constituency and that of the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Morgan) have two trusts and one health board in a sparsely populated area. Is not such a system overburdening in terms of bureaucracy and red tape?

Mr. Galbraith

I do not want to pre-empt any review at this stage, but any review will be put out to wide consultation and the hon. Members who represent that area will be involved. I am therefore grateful to my hon. Friend for putting his proposals to me at this early stage, and I shall certainly take them into consideration.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan

Will the Minister intervene with Dumfries and Galloway health board in connection with the number of community care beds being provided in Stranraer, a matter that is causing great concern in Galloway?

Mr. Galbraith

I was not aware of that problem, but I shall look into it on behalf of the hon. Gentleman and give him a reply when the information is available.

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