asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the shortage of hospital beds for maternity cases in Glasgow, a matter which, on account of the unsatisfactory housing conditions still obtaining in many districts, is causing concern to those responsible for the conduct of maternity and child welfare services in the City; and if he will undertake to ensure that a fair proportion of the beds which are no longer required for the treatment of tuberculosis will be allocated for this purpose.
Yes, Sir. This matter has recently been discussed between my Department, Glasgow Corporation and the Western Regional Hospital Board, and I am now considering it further in consultation with the Board which is already preparing proposals for a substantial increase in the number of maternity beds in Glasgow. On the future of tuberculosis beds, I have already undertaken, in reply to a Question from the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) on 6th May, to make a comprehensive statement.
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that Answer, may I ask whether he is aware that this matter of beds for maternity cases is one of extreme urgency, since the infant mortality figures for Glasgow, although dramatically reduced in the last twenty years, are still about twice the national average?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Answer given by the Joint Under-Secretary to my Question last week, that some of these hospitals may go on a care and maintenance basis, has caused great distress in Scotland? In making his review, will he ensure that every single hospital is used for purposes such as those suggested by my hon. Friend?