§ 9. Lady Tweedsmuir
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether a decision has now been reached on the appointment of a consultant to the Bruntsfield and Elsie Inglis Hospitals, Edinburgh.
10. Sir I. Clark Hutchison
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the continuing anxiety felt by a large section of the public over the intentions of the South-Eastern Regional Hospital Board in regard to the appointment of a new medical consultant for the Bruntsfield Hospital for Women and Children and the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital: and if he will make a further statement on this matter.
§ Mr. Maclay
The Regional Hospital Board recently received a deputation from the organisers of the public meeting about this case, and the whole matter is under consideration.
§ Mr. Hoy
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that, at a very conservative estimate, more than 99 per cent. of the people of Scotland are against the decision of the Hospital Board? Will not the right hon. Gentleman use his own authority to maintain this hospital as it was planned and paid for by the women of Scotland?
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
I am sure everyone will be glad that, at any rate, a decision has not yet been taken to appoint a male consultant. May I ask my right hon. Friend whether there is any truth in the rumour that a woman consultant specialist is shortly to be appointed, and has already been interviewed?
§ Mr. Maclay
I can make no comment on rumours. I am responsible for many things, but not for rumours.
Sir I. Clark Hutchison
Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that in the opinion of a great many people in Scotand the appointment of a male consultant would contravene, certainly the spirit, and probably the terms of the trusts upon which these great hospitals were founded?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Before the Minister replies to that question, may I ask him to keep in mind that these two hospitals were formed in memory of the entry of women into the medical profession, and it is felt that part of this trouble lies in the resistance of the male members of the medical profession to the entrance of female consultants into the higher grades of the profession? Is it not important that some place should be left for women in the field of medicine which they could have as a prerogative for themselves?
§ Mr. Maclay
In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, West (Sir I. Clark Hutchison), may I say that I am well aware of the views about this problem? The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) is drawing some conclusions from the situation which are not necessarily valid.