HC Deb 27 November 1963 vol 685 c67W
54. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consult the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development with a view to a joint visit to the Western Isles, in view of the high and persistent unemployment, in order to speed up improvement of the basic services necessary to attract manufacturing industry, provide insurable, continuous employment and stem the loss of population.

Mr. Noble

The serious problems of the Western Isles are of long standing and as such they have had regular Ministerial visits, the most recent being the visit to Lewis by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. As the recent Central Scotland White Paper makes clear the Government are pressing forward with their examination of other areas of Scotland including the highlands and islands and in the consideration of these matters I am, of course, in close regular consultation with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State forIndustry, Trade and Regional Development.

55. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is now taking to ensure that National Health Service patients in the Western Isles, who have to make long and, in many cases, repeated journeys to distant hospitals by air, sea and rail, do not have to pay the cost of those journeys for themselves and necessary escorts.

Mr. Stodart

Under existing arrangements payment of travelling expenses including those of an escort where necessary can be made where hardship is shown. Transport by ambulance, including the air ambulance service, is already provided at no cost to the patient or escort where it is required on medical grounds.