§ Mr. Ancram
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current position on the industrial action being taken in the National Health Service in Scotland by hospital laboratory technicians in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Fairgrieve
In many areas, medical laboratory scientific officers have withdrawn from the normal emergency duty service and are providing only "life or death" coverage. In the Greater Glasgow health board's area there have been threats by members of the Association of Scientific Technical and Managerial Staffs not to provide any out-of-hours cover at all at some laboratories.
In areas affected by the dispute, a restricted service is being provided by medical and graduate scientific staff, but this cannot wholly avoid some delay, discomfort and even danger to patients. I deeply deplore the use of such tactics by professional officers in pursuit of a claim for higher payments.