HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1733-5
3. Mr. Perkins

asked the Minister of Health what is the waiting period for hearing aids for non-priority cases in Gloucestershire.

Mr. Marquand

At the present rate of supply the majority of patients at the Bristol distribution centre, which serves Gloucestershire, would have to wait nearly three years. I have, therefore, decided to review allocations so as to improve the situation.

16. Mr. H. A. Price

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that a Lewisham housewife, of whom he has been informed, and who is deaf, has been told that she cannot have deaf aid until 1954; and if he will take steps to reduce the waiting period in this case.

Mr. Marquand

I think it must be left to the hospitals concerned to decide which of their patients need to be given priority over others who are waiting.

Mr. Price

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me and the House whether he is satisfied that housewives have the proper degree of priority and, if there are others with greater priority, how long they are expected to wait?

Mr. Marquand

So far as the question of waiting is concerned, I am reviewing the allocation, as I have said, to see that it is entirely fair throughout the country.

24. Mr. Profumo

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the Government's declared intention to supply bone conduction hearing aids under the National Health Scheme when a suitable system is approved, which service will include the free supply of batteries, he will give an assurance that those people who have formerly had to buy commercial aids of this type because of the lack of an appliance approved by his Department will also be eligible for the supply of batteries under this scheme.

Mr. Marquand

No, Sir.

Mr. Profumo

Is it consistent with the principles of Socialism that unfortunate people who are suffering from a particular type of acute deafness should be denied any share in the Health Service merely because they cannot wait while the Government carry out protracted experiments on an aid which one day they will receive free?

Mr. Marquand

We have provided a large number of services under the Health Service and at present there is no intention of extending them.

25. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Health how many persons from the area administered by the West Cornwall Hospital Management Committee have received hearing aids during the past six months; how many are on the waiting list; how far delay is due to the shortage of skilled personnel at the Plymouth fitting centre; and what are the prospects of additional technicians being appointed soon.

Mr. Marquand

The figures are 49 and 411. I understand that there is now no shortage of skilled personnel at the Plymouth centre.

Mr. Hayman

Would the Minister consider setting up a clinic in Redruth, because of the high travelling expenses involved? Will he bear in mind that Redruth is the centre of a population of about 200,000 within reasonable travelling distance?

Mr. Marquand

I will look into that suggestion and write to my hon. Friend.

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