To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will take action to improve the national health service in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Yes. Since 1979 an extra 723,000 patients are being treated every year, an extra 8,849 nurses have been employed at salaries which have risen by more than 40 per cent. in real terms and 68 major new hospital projects have been completed. That is a record to be proud of.
Most of the members of the Forth Valley health board are the Minister's constituents and were appointed by him. Is he aware of the public concern about the increasingly secretive and autocratic way in which the board is behaving, especially since he appointed his Tory friend Mrs. Isbister to chair the health board? Is not it high time that she and her Tory henchmen were sacked from the health board as they are undermining the national health service and threatening standards of patient care?
I think that it is high time the hon. Gentleman paid tribute to the real achievements of the Forth Valley health board, including the splendid new £18 million extension to Stirling royal infirmary, and to its splendid efforts to cut waiting lists and extend patient care. The hon. Gentleman should also pay tribute to the transformation that has been brought about in the Royal Scottish National hospital at Larbert in his constituency, at which mentally handicapped patients have benefited from greatly improved standards.