asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for the provision of a maternity unit in the new town of Cumbernauld.
The Western Regional Hospital Board's long-term plans for Cumbernauld's hospital services include the provision of a materntiy unit with facilities for both specialists and general practitioners.
Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that the provision of the maternity unit will precede the building of the hospital, as, with a birth rate of 28 per 1,000, there is an immediate and urgent need for maternity facilities in the new town? Will she do all she can to urge forward the building of this maternity unit?
The exact starting date will, of course, be a matter for the regional hospital board's own assessment, but I understand that the general practitioners' maternity unit will be provided ahead of the consultant unit to which my hon. Friend refers. That should enable the immediate need to be met more quickly than would otherwise be possible.