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Hospital Boards (Appointments)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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41.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the terms of office of ex-Provost Slater, Buckhaven, and of Baillie Mrs. Anderson, Leslie, on the East Fife Hospitals Board of Management have not been renewed.

The South-Eastern Regional Hospital Board, who are responsible for making these appointments, decided that the time had come to introduce into the Board of Management some new members from different areas and having different experience. This decision in no way reflects upon the services rendered by the members who were not reappointed, both of whom had served on the Board of Management since 1948, and to whom I take this opportunity of expressing my thanks.

Why does the Secretary of State not indicate the reasons at the time when informing these people that their services will not be further required? Is it not a fact that both these people have got a splendid record of public service and that to change merely for the sake of change is quite ludicrous?

I said there was no reflection upon the members at all. The normal appointment is for a period of three years; actually, they had served since 1948, and it is quite a good thing periodically to introduce new blood and to gain new experience.

Is this a general principle in Scotland, as there are other areas, including the Borders, where changes have been made?

I said in my original answer that the regional hospital boards are responsible, and I think the policy which they are carrying out is a perfectly normal and proper one.

Is the right hon. Gentle man aware that there are other members of the East Fife Hospitals Board of Management who have also served since 1948? Is he further aware that ex-Provost Slater, and Bailie Mrs. Anderson have had a long-standing dispute with; the Regional Hospitals Board about hospital development in Fife, and can he say if their departure from the board has anything to do with the dispute, because there is considerable feeling in the area?

As I have said, this is the responsibility of the Regional Hospitals Board. I should not like to debate this in answer to a question, but if the hon. Member requires further information, I will certainly supply it.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you would use your special knowledge to ensure that when Scottish terms are used they will be spelt properly? The word "Bailie" has only one "1."

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of this reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes have been made in the personnel of the South-East Scotland Regional Hospital Board during the past two years.

During the past two years, 13 persons have ceased to be members of the Board and five new appointments have been made. I will circulate the names of the individuals concerned in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is serious disquiet at what appears to be political discrimination in making these appointments, and will he tell the House what he is going to do about it?

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, if there is any such feeling, those who have it are completely misinformed, and I hope they will clear their minds of it. I think that in the course of any Adjournment debate I could do so.

The right hon. Gentle man ought to take this more seriously. Is he not aware that there is a feeling that people who have Labour sympathies are being deposed from these boards in favour of people affiliated to his own party?

I really must reply to that question put by the right hon. Gentleman. If he is referring to Lord Mathers, whom we all know very well, Lord Mathers intimated to me his desire to be relieved of his post and he has therefore been relieved.

The following are the names:
During the past two years the following have ceased to be members of this Board:—
  • Bailie J. G. Banks, Edinburgh.
  • Mr. J. Black, Bo'ness.
  • Dr. E. A. Cormack, Edinburgh.
  • Councillor Mrs. J. Dowie, Berwickshire.
  • Lady Fraser, Edinburgh.
  • Miss A. Hankey, Selkirkshire.
  • Mrs. I. McNeill, Edinburgh.
  • Mr. D. B. Martin, Fife.
  • Lord Mathers, Edinburgh.
  • Professor W. Oliver, Edinburgh.
  • Major D. F. O. Russell, Markinch.
  • Dr. A. Simpson, Hawick.
  • Sir Henry Wade, Edinburgh.
The following new members have been appointed: —
  • Mrs. M. H. Anstruther-Gray, Cupar, Fife.
  • Miss J. P. Ferlie, Edinburgh.
  • Dr. J. C. G. Mercer, North Berwick.
  • Professor G. H. Percival, Edinburgh.
  • Dr. G. J. Summers, Edinburgh.