Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, Glasgow

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 May 1983.

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Photo of Mrs Helen McElhone Mrs Helen McElhone , Glasgow Queen's Park 12:00, 4 May 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if there is a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in Glasgow.

Photo of Mr John Mackay Mr John Mackay , Argyll

There are two hyperbaric oxygen chambers in Glasgow, both located in the Western infirmary.

Photo of Mrs Helen McElhone Mrs Helen McElhone , Glasgow Queen's Park

Is it not true that, because of Government cuts, those machines are lying empty? Is the Minister aware that they could be used to help sufferers from multiple sclerosis? I understand that people suffering from multiple sclerosis have to travel to Dundee to use a machine.

Photo of Mr John Mackay Mr John Mackay , Argyll

The hon. Lady obviously did not listen to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Mr. Henderson) about the money that we are putting into the Health Service. There is a growing interest in the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat multiple sclerosis, and I would welcome any proposal for a fully validated double blind trial of this form of treatment. It would not be wise to spend more money on equipment or to raise false hopes until we are sure that the treatment works.

Photo of Mr Russell Fairgrieve Mr Russell Fairgrieve , Aberdeenshire West

Does my hon. Friend agree that the first hyperbaric centre in Scotland should be set up in Aberdeen? As this Government have encouraged industrial, oil and health interests to co-operate in this sphere there, may we hope that Aberdeen will eventually give the lead in the whole area of hyperbaric medicine?

Photo of Mr John Mackay Mr John Mackay , Argyll

My hon. Friend is right. We expect to receive specific proposals shortly from Grampian health board. A new consultant in hyperbaric medicine has recently been appointed there.

Photo of Mr Albert McQuarrie Mr Albert McQuarrie , Aberdeenshire East

As the incidence of multiple sclerosis is increasing in the north of the country, will my hon. Friend consider providing aid for research into multiple sclerosis in the Grampian area?

Photo of Mr John Mackay Mr John Mackay , Argyll

I am interested in all possible aids and research projects connected with multiple sclerosis. Indeed, the Medical Research Council recently awarded £50,000 to Dr. Downie, consultant neurologist with the Grampian health board, as part of a national trial of a drug called Azathioprine for the treatment of that disease. Medical people regard that as the priority research area, rather than the hyperbaric research undertaken in the Grampian area.