HC Deb 29 April 1964 vol 694 cc397-9
36. Mr. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the number and location of health centres provided in Scotland since the passing of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act.

Mr. Noble

Three, Sir, located in the Sighthill district of Edinburgh, in Stranraer and in Cumbernauld.

Mr. Manuel

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that successive Secretaries of State have fallen down very badly in the provision of health centres throughout Scotland? Is he further aware that the National Health. Service (Scotland) Act places this duty plainly upon the shoulders of the Secretary of State and the Scottish Office? Will he inform the House whether he has any prepared scheme for these health centres for the future and, if not, why not?

Mr. Noble

These are experimental types of provision in Scotland, and I think that we should move only as fast as there is obvious agreement on the need for them between local health authorities and the public.

Sir John MacLeod

Is my right hon. Friend aware how very unfair it is to people in the remote areas on the West Coast to have to pay all the transport charges to get to these centres? This causes great hardship. Could he meet their expenses to the centres?

Mr. Noble

That is quite a different Question, but I understand what my hon. Friend means.

Mr. Ross

If these are experimental, as the right hon. Gentleman says, would the right hon. Gentleman give us some basis on which to judge how long the experiment has been going on? When was it started in Edinburgh, in Stranraer and in Cumbernauld?

Mr. Noble

The Edinburgh experiment was opened in 1953, that in Stranraer in 1955 and, as far as I can remember, that in Cumbernauld last year.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Is it not a fact that the Minister of Health intends in his plan to have 47 health centres for England and yet the Secretary of State has never published a plan to indicate what his future intentions are? Is it not reasonable for my hon. Friends to ask this question and for the Secretary of State to give us a reply?

Mr. Noble

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State last week indicated that health centres were planned at Livingston and Cumbernauld.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. We must get on.

Mr. Manuel

On a point of order. In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to ask leave to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.