§ Mr. Oswald
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the effect on the hospital building programme revised forecast rates of expenditure for individual projects.
§ Mr. Ross
Though the Scottish hospital building programme has not been affected by the series of measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 16th January, I had already found it necessary last year to review the programme because of increases in the estimated annual expenditure on the schemes included in it compared with the forecast financial requirements on which the Review of the Hospital Plan for Scotland published in 283W February, 1966, was based. The 1966 Review assumed an expenditure of about £60 million in the quinquennium to 31st March, 1971: the revalued figure now assumed for the same period is over £66 million. The financial programme is, therefore, being fully maintained; and the rephasing of starting dates that is necessary arises because of the operation of other factors. The final outcome of this review had to be held up, pending the recent comprehensive review of Government expenditure, but I have now communicated to regional hospital boards the rephasing of the programme which I propose, and have asked them for their comments.
It had been hoped in the period to 31st March, 1971, covered by the 1966 Review to start thirty-three major schemes; and it has always been understood that particular starting dates within that period were provisional. The revised programme which I am preparing provides for thirty of the thirty-three schemes to start in the same period, but for three to be deferred into 1971–72.
Within the period to 31st March, 1971, the rephased programme involves the postponement of the start of a number of major schemes beyond their starting dates, as previously estimated, by periods ranging from three months to a year at the maximum. The main deferments will come among the schemes that have hitherto been provisionally planned for start in 1968–69 and 1969–70.
The main factors which have made rephasing necessary have been increases in the estimated cost of a number of schemes; expectations of faster progress on some schemes; and the addition to the programme of the complete rebuilding, costing £4.2 million, of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, which has had to be demolished because its structure had become dangerous.
I am discussing with the regional hospital boards new arrangements for the control of the hospital building programme, mainly by reference to the total value of work started in each financial year; and I have also emphasised again to the regional boards that I look to them to exercise the fullest measure of cost control consistent with the maintenance of reasonable standards for new hospital buildings.284W
The following is a list of schemes included in the 1966 Review and estimated to cost over £1 million whose provisional starting dates I am now discussing with the regional hospital boards:
- District General Hospitals at Airdrie, Dumfries, Greenock and North Ayrshire.
- Phase I of re-development of the Western Infirmary, Glasgow and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
- Phase II of re-development of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Central Hospital, Inverness.
- Langside Cottage, Glasgow Victoria: Geriatric Unit.
- Dykebar Hospital, Paisley: New Unit.
- Maternity unit at Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.
All the schemes being discussed form part of the national programme of major schemes. The regional boards' own programmes of smaller schemes which amount to about a quarter of the whole programme will not be affected.