asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for increasing the number of geriatric beds in the county of Fife; and if he will make a statement.
To meet the requirements of Fife for geriatric hospital beds, 268 additional beds will be required by 1981. Minor schemes under construction will provide 58 additional beds by next year. Major schemes which will provide the balance of 210 beds are at various stages of planning or design.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Fife Health Board, at the suggestion of the Department, has accepted a cut in the number of beds in phase 1 of the new hospital in Dunfermline district, which means that the number of geriatric beds will be reduced? I understand that my hon. Friend is to visit the Fife Health Board on 7th April. If that meeting takes place, will my hon. Friend discuss the subject of geriatric beds?
My hon. Friend has rather sprung on me his supplementary question about the district hospital. There is no question of the provision of additional geriatric beds being prevented. I am afraid that other commitments preclude my making the visit which I had previously arranged. When I do visit Fife or go to see the health board I have no doubt that the matters my hon. Friend has raised with me will be taken into consideration.
As the proposal to use the former maternity hospital at Newport-on-Tay for the provision of geriatric beds has been turned down on grounds of cost, will the hon. Gentleman consider the provision of extra geriatric beds in the St. Andrews area, in place of Newport-on-Tay?
I shall consider that.