§ Mr. Sarwar
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to promote tele-medicine in the National Health Service. 
§ Mr. Galbraith
The Government's White Paper "Designed to Care" stated that the co-ordination of care could be improved through tele-medicine by enabling, for example, consultation with hospital specialists to take place in the GP's surgery. The Government's objective is to use technology to promote a seamless pattern of care. A Strategic Programme for Modernising Information Management and Technology in the NHS in Scotland has been published which requires all Health Boards and NHS Trusts to develop their own local comprehensive strategies which will include the use of tele-medicine. The government are alsoEstablishing a national tele-medicine advice centreSupporting proposals for development of tele-medicine applications in emergency medicine in Grampian and heart disease in PaisleyJoining with other home countries (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) to consider: common technical standards, confidentiality and ethics as they relate to tele-medicine and the evaluation of tele-medicine.
From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.