HC Deb 17 June 1997 vol 296 c105
8. Mr. Moore

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to meet with the chairmen of the NHS trusts in the borders to discuss the state of the trusts' finances. [2336]

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

I have not been approached by the chairmen of the trusts in the borders for such a meeting. However, arrangements are in hand to meet a representative group of trust chairmen in Scotland when a range of issues will be discussed.

Mr. Moore

I hope that the Minister will include representatives from the borders in that group. What steps will he take to end the current uncertainty at the two trusts in the borders as a result of their short-term contracts for the current financial year? In particular, what assurance can he give that the anticipated shortfall of £750,000 at the Borders general hospital will not lead to cuts in patient care?

Mr. Galbraith

The current shortfall is a result of a revaluation of assets and a requirement to pay a 6 per cent. return on capital. That is a matter to be negotiated between the trusts and the health board, and I look forward to a successful conclusion to the discussions.

Mr. Davidson

When the Minister next meets chairmen of health boards, will he mention to many of them that their services are no longer required? Does he remember that many of the chairs of health boards—like their members—are simply Tory placemen who ought to be got rid of by a Labour Government?

Mr. Galbraith

I am currently considering the question of who will chair the health boards and I hope to make an announcement very soon.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin

As the hon. Gentleman cannot even get an assurance from the Chief Secretary on the future of the Barnett formula, what assurances can he give to the chairmen of health trusts in Scotland?

Mr. Galbraith

Expenditure on the health service in Scotland is well laid out in our plans, and that will continue. The funding of the health service in Scotland is well known and secure.