HC Deb 09 February 1999 vol 325 cc175-6W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his priorities for improving the(a) health service and (b) education system in Scotland. [69416]

Mr. Dewar

[holding answer 8 February 1999]: The Government's strategic aims and clinical priorities for the National Health Service in Scotland are set out in "Priorities and Planning Guidance for the NHS in Scotland 1999–2002". Our plans to reform the structure of the National Health Service in Scotland to replace the internal market were detailed in "Designed to Care: Renewing the National Health Service in Scotland" (Cm 3811). I intend to publish proposals related to the broader health agenda shortly, taking account of the responses to consultation on "Working Together for a Healthier Scotland" (Cm 3584). All these documents are in the Library.

The Government's priorities for improving school education are set out in our White Paper "Targeting Excellence: Modernising Scotland's Schools" (Cm 4247) which was published on 27 January. Our priorities for post-16 education and training are set out in our Green Paper "Opportunity Scotland" (Cm 4048) published in September 1998. I sent the hon. Member copies of these documents, and copies are also available in the Library of the House. For higher education, our priorities are set out in the Government's responses to the Dearing and Garrick reports, published in February 1998. I sent the hon. Member a copy of the Garrick report, and copies of both reports are available in the Library of the House.

We expect shortly to publish our strategic framework for further education which will set out our challenge to colleges to widen participation, improve links with each other and other sectors, and to raise standards and quality.

Our priorities for health and education contribute to our overarching aims to promote social inclusion and excellence, and will be delivered within the enhanced resources allocated as a result of our Comprehensive Spending Review.

From 1 July 1999 these will be matters for the Scottish Parliament.

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