I did not consider it appropriate to make any announcement about this occurrence while investigations were being conducted and the question of a fatal accident inquiry was being considered.
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that at the time there was newspaper speculation and it was reported by the newspapers that the fatalities were due to post-operative treatment? Is it not the case that the Royal Infirmary was extremely vexed about this slur on its reputation and wanted to make a statement denying it, but was forbidden to do so by his Department?
I am not commenting on that last remark. If the hon. Gentleman wants a comment on it he will be far better to put down a Question. I deplore, as I am quite sure he does, premature leaks of information that cause widespread anxiety: the statement had to be made in order to reassure patients. The hon. Member will appreciate the difficulty in respect of those who had been through a very, very trying time and to whom further agony was being caused. I hope that the hon. Gentleman, like myself, deplores these premature leaks of information.