Vote 11. National Health Service, Scotland

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1959.

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Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North 12:00 am, 12th March 1959

I know that it is worse than anywhere else in the British Isles, and that some of the other European countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, return figures much better than some of the best figures in the British Isles.

How much of the saving of £400,000 in the hospital services, if any, was saved by not providing the maternity beds which were so desperately needed? If any of that saving were made by not providing these maternity beds, it is a great scandal, when we think of the mothers and the babies who lost their lives in Scotland last year.

Like the Minister, I want to pay a tribute to all in Scotland who are working in the National Health Service. I feel that they have done a wonderful job. I refer in our hospitals to the domestic staff, the nurses, the doctors, the consultants, and in our villages and our towns to the general practitioners, the district nurses and the midwives. They do a wonderful job.

It seems very clear from the speech of the Joint Under-Secretary of State and from the speeches of the English Ministers that they now accept the National Health Service. Although we feel that there are areas where savings can and ought to be made, particularly in the pharmaceutical service, in other services—and I cannot stress strongly enough in the maternity service and the provision of maternity beds—the Government ought to be providing far more. Is any coverage made in these Estimates for further provision?