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Hospital Services, West Fife

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1961

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23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from general practitioners in West Fife on the future of hospital services in the area; and what reply he has sent.

These representations dealt with several aspects of the planning of the hospital services in the area, which my right hon. Friend has invited the practitioners to pursue with the regional hospital board as the responsible authority.

Is the Minister aware that his reply is most insulting, that medical practitioners only write to a Minister of the Crown when they are seriously concerned, that as a professional body they are not given to exaggeration, that they asked for his intervention because they are desperately concerned about the state of hospital services in West Fife and that they cannot afford to wait 20 years as planned for the new general hospital? Will the hon. Gentleman look into the matter and do something?

My reply certainly was not meant to be insulting, and I apologise if the hon. Member took it that way. The regional hospital board has agreed to meet the board of management to discuss the matter, and at this juncture it would be better to leave it at that.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that nobody in Fife is satisfied with his passing of the buck continually to the regional hospital board, and that it is the view of the general practitioners and the general body of the public in West Fife that it is the function of the Secretary of State to exert pressure on the Government to get more money to give to the regional hospital boards? What is the hon. Gentleman doing in that regard? Furthermore, can he tell me when I will get an answer to the invitation which I issued to him at least two months ago to come with me to Fife to see the deplorable conditions in the Northern Hospital in Dunfermline?

I will certainly consider the hon. Member's invitation again. I must admit that I had forgotten it. It is the second invitation I have had today, so I shall pay more attention to it.