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HH62/2/STIRLI/25

Transcription

[Page] 24

total population of these three parishes is 3410, while that of the
whole District is 14,915, so that about 11,500 would be the
population of that part of the District for which a hospital at
Bannockburn might be erected. There are in addition two police
burghs within the District, Bridge of Allan with a population of
3221, and Denny with 3599, and if for this purpose they joined
with the District, the total population would be over 18,000. For
Kippen and Gargunnock I have suggested that a small hut or
cottage hospital might be erected or obtained in the neighbourhood
of Buchlyvie, to serve not only for these parishes but also for the
adjoining parishes in the Western District of the County -
Drymen, Fintry, Killearn, and Balfron. For Kilsyth the con-
venient arrangement would be a small share in a proposed joint
hospital in the neighbourhood of Kirkintilloch, the other con-
tributories to which would be Western Stirlingshire, Eastern
Dunbartonshire, and the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire.
In the Western District also the question is a very difficult one.
The District is thirty miles long, and had last year a population of
barely 12,500. There are not within it any police or other burghs.
Considerably more than half of the population belongs to the
two parishes of Campsie and Strathblane, in the southern part of
the District, the rest of the parishes being very thinly inhabited. It
has therefore seemed desirable to try to arrange for combination of
the southern part of the District with parts of the Districts of
adjoining Local Authorities somewhat similarly situated, and at
present there is under consideration a scheme for a joint hospital
to be erected in the extreme south of the parish of Campsie, and
to serve for the parishes of Campsie, Strathblane, and Baldernock
in Western Stirlingshire; Kilsyth, in Central Stirlingshire; Kirkin-
tilloch and Cumbernauld, in Eastern Dunbartonshire; and Cadder,
in the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire. The population within this
area is barely 25,000, and as it is of a rural character a hospital of
twenty beds might suffice. By such a joint arrangement the
expense of maintenance would be very much subdivided. At
present the question of going on with the scheme depends a good
deal on the action of the Lower Ward of Lanarkshire, which has
under consideration two alternative proposals. If the scheme
were carried out, then, as I have already indicated in speaking of
the Central District, the wants of the remainder of the District

[Page] 25

might be met by a small cottage hospital or hut hospital in the neighbour-
hood of Buchlyvie, but if the joint scheme is departed from it will
be necessary for the District to consider the provision of hospital
accommodation confined to the population within its own area,
and in that case the neighbourhood of Stathblane would be a
proper site.
It is obvious that the difficulties in arriving at a joint under-
standing, where so many Local Authorities are concerned, are
very great. Originally it was intended that the burghs of Kilsyth
and Kirkintilloch should have a share in the proposed joint scheme.
Kilsyth, however, has definitely retired, and Kirkintilloch has
assumed a very doubtful attitude. Such facts indicate one of
the chief weaknesses of the Local Government Act - the practical
dis-association of burghal and rural Local Authorities in regard to
all public health questions. Burghs, owing to their density of
population, have really greater need of hospital accommodation
than the rural districts. But each is under its own Local Autho-
rity and follows its own course. Hence it is that, while the new
Local Authorities of the counties are doing their best to solve
the difficult problems of hospital accommodation, some of the
burghs within their Districts, whose needs are very much greater,
remain practically inactive. The result of this is likely to be a
large expenditure of public money in the erection, and especially
in the maintenance, of numerous small hospitals, scattered through
the rural districts, in place of a smaller number of large and better
equipped and more economically managed institutions available
alike for burghal and rural patients. Another result may well be
that if hospitals are erected by District Committees alone, outbreaks
of infectious disease arising within the rural districts will be
promptly met and dealt with, but if originating in the burghs they
will be apt to extend into the surrounding country. In this way
there will be no mutual protection as between burghs and Districts.
The burghs will reap advantage from the measures taken by the
District Local Authorities, while the Districts will receive no
corresponding benefit.
Regarding hospital questions generally, under the Local Govern-
ment Act, much interest attaches to an Opinion of Counsel lately
obtained by the Lasswade District of Midlothian. The opinion is
briefly as follows:- (1) Parishes as such cannot be assessed for

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