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Regional Hospital Boards (Areas)

Volume 441: debated on Tuesday 29 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give the assurance that, in delimiting the areas assigned to the regional hospital boards, care will be taken to ensure that each shall include a population proportional to the needs of the particular medical school as regards clinical material, and as regards hospital accommodation necessary to provide an adequate number of the resident appointments demanded by the new Health Service arrangements before registration as qualified independent practitioners.

The National Health Service (Scotland) (Determination of Areas of Regional Hospital Boards) Order 1947, fixing these areas was made on 25th June and laid before Parliament on 27th June. In settling the terms of that Order I had fully in mind the needs of clinical teaching, as represented to me by the universities. As I explained in a letter I wrote to the Acting Principal of Edinburgh University on 23rd July, of which the hon. Member has a copy, clinical teaching is not, in my opinion, prejudiced by the provisions of the Order.

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that there is no truth in a statement which I have seen that, of the two chief Scottish medical schools, with approximately equal numbers of students, one has been allocated a population of approximately three million and the other a population of approximately one million?

I can only give the assurance that, in looking into the whole problem associated with the new organisation necessary, I have at least given the fullest consideration to all the representations made to me. I have made my decisions having regard to what I think is in the best interests of Scotland, and without any prejudice to the clinical teaching of the respective universities.

Is the Minister aware that the success of any pubic health service, however carefully it may be planned, is, in the end, dependent entirely upon the training given in the medical schools?

Yes, Sir. I am in entire agreement with the point just made by the hon. Member.