HC Deb 15 July 1997 vol 298 cc186-7
8. Ms Squire

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to meet health board chairpersons to discuss health services for women and children. [6697]

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

I meet health board chairmen regularly to discuss a range of issues.

Ms Squire

When he next meets health board chairmen, will my hon. Friend emphasise the importance of full public consultation on the provision of services for women and children, especially in obstetrics and paediatrics? Will he further agree to urge the new chairman of Fife health board to go out directly to the communities throughout Fife and seek out and listen to their views on how best to provide local maternity services?

Mr. Galbraith

I acknowledge my hon. Friend's interest in maternity services, especially in Fife, and the efforts that she has made on behalf of her constituents. As we all know, maternity services are undergoing significant development and change in the health service. That process will vary depending on each health board. I am convinced, however, that the main motivation for that change must be the health and safety of mothers and babies, and that that will be the motivating factor in Fife as well.

Mr. John M. Taylor

When he meets the chairmen of the health boards, will the Minister tell them whether the Scottish Parliament—if there is to be one—will be competent to determine abortion questions?

Mr. Galbraith

The hon. Gentleman has thought to be clever and introduce an issue relating to the devolution proposals. As my right hon. and hon. Friends have said, he need be patient for only a little longer. The White Paper will be published on 24 July, and he should read it with great interest then.