HC Deb 27 January 1976 vol 904 c166W
42. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on her Middle East visit.

Mrs. Castle

I visited Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran from 6th to 16th January in order to see at first hand the striking progress made and planned in the development of health and social services in those countries, to exchange views with the Ministers concerned on ways in which my Department might be able to help by making available to them its considerable expertise in the planning, building, equipping and management of hospitals, and to support the efforts of British companies which are seeking business in the health field in the Middle East. In all three countries I had full and constructive discussions with their Prime Ministers and the Ministers responsible for health and social affairs. I also had the pleasure of visiting a number of hospitals and laboratories. Considerable interest was shown in the experience and expertise acquired during the past 25 years of development of the NHS, and as a follow-up to my visit teams from my Department and British industry are continuing discussions at a high level with the interested parties in the countries.

I hope that by continuing a dialogue with the Ministers concerned during this year I will be able to further the opportunities for the British Government and British firms to contribute to the extensive health developments being planned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran.