asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether a decision has yet been reached on the proposed closure of paediatric wards at Stobhill hospital; and if he will make a statement.
Greater Glasgow health board has decided that formal consultation should take place with local interests on the proposed withdrawal of medical and surgical in-patient paediatric services from Stobhill hospital and on the transfer of these services to the Royal hospital for sick children in Glasgow. No final decision has yet been taken.
I congratulate the Minister on his appointment. Will he bear in mind that the hospital serves not only my constituents, but families in Lennoxtovvn, Torrance and Kirkintilloch? In an emergency, families in those areas could take about half an hour to get to Stobhill hospital. The Disablement Income Group is worried that if the transfer to Yorkhill hospital takes place children who are severely disabled could risk life and limb, because of the distance involved. Will the hon. Gentleman take this up with the Greater Glasgow health board?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. In reaching a decision on any proposed closure or change of use for the paediatric wards at Stobhill the health board will seek the views of all appropriate local interests, including the hon. Gentleman. Distance will be one of the factors to be taken into account in deciding whether to transfer the paediatric services to the Royal hospital for sick children.
Will the Minister undertake to express to the health board the anxiety felt by my constituents, who will face a serious problem if Stobhill hospital is closed?
That is one of the factors that the Greater Glasgow health board will need to consider. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be in contact with the board to express that view. However, the board must also take an overall view of the paediatric services in Glasgow. I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows that, on completion of the remedial work at the Royal hospital for sick children later this year, 72 additional beds will be provided. That will mean an overall improvement in paediatric services in the Glasgow area.