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Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the shortage of anaesthetists and the availability of epidural anaesthetics.

The provision of anaesthetic services is a matter for health boards taking into account local needs and priorities. The number of consultant anaesthetists in Scotland has risen from 216 in 1979 to 270 in 1986, an increase of 25 per cent. I am not aware of difficulties in the recruitment of anaesthetists.Advice on the provision of epidural analgesia was contained in a report by the National Medical Consultative Committee on Obstetric Anaesthesia and Analgesia in Scotland which was issued to health boards in 1985.