HC Deb 09 May 1950 vol 475 cc174-6
9. Mrs. Jean Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that certification of old people is increasing in Scotland because a bed in an institution is required; and if he will take steps to remove this stigma from the elderly people requiring care and attention.

Mr. McNeil

I have no precise information on this subject but I certainly share my hon. Friend's anxiety that proper care and accommodation should be available for old people. Within the material and financial limits imposed by the present economic situation, hospitals and local authorities are doing all they can to meet this need.

Mrs. Mann

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the medical profession are gravely perturbed at the number of old people who are merely senile and yet have to be certified as lunatics? Would he consider introducing some such certification as "aged and infirm"?

Mr. McNeil

While I think that rather odd things are happening, I have no precise information, and I have been offered none, which would warrant the assumption made by my hon. Friend. However, on the second point, I certainly think there is a good case for considering some other description than that of certification, and I am looking closely at the point.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Would it be possible to put some form of pressure upon local authorities who only have permissive powers to do something more about institutional accommodation for old people who are not certifiable although they may be senile and in need of help?

Mr. Hubbard

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it would be highly undesirable in any circumstances to put old people in that type of institution?

34. Mr. Hubbard

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of old people in Fife who are on the waiting list for hospital treatment for reasons arising from old age; and the number of beds available for this purpose in Fife.

Mr. McNeil

The number of old people in Fife on the waiting list for hospital treatment for conditions other than acute ones is estimated at 65, and about 64 beds in Fife are used for such patients. Numbers of Fife patients are, of course, admitted to hospitals outside the area.

Mr. Hubbard

Is my right hon. Friend aware that during last year there were fewer beds available for that type of patient than in the previous year, and that at the present moment many old people suffering from illness because of their age are awaiting beds to be provided for them in the City of Edinburgh?

Mr. McNeil

I do not think that the first assumption is correct, but it is of course true, as we all know, that more aged people suffering from conditions generally associated with senility are looking for additional treatment.