40. Mrs. Jeger
asked the Minister of Health with whom authority rests to determine the frequency of visiting by parents to children in hospitals under the National Health Service; and what difference is made in the rules in such hospitals if the children are in pay beds.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
Visiting arrangements, for both National Health Service and private patients, are the responsibility of hospital management committees and boards of governors.
Has the Minister followed the correspondence which appeared recently in the "Manchester Guardian" on this subject, and which indicates that while there has been a wide welcome to the lead given by his Department there are still many hospitals which adopt a very unhelpful attitude towards parents in this situation? Can he tell the House whether or not he is quite powerless to help?
§ Mr. Macleod
I have issued a circular which has been welcomed, and I am following it up. But there are many cases 2336 of special circumstances in the hospitals—for example, infectious diseases hospitals—which make it difficult for those responsible for the running of the hospitals to do as much as I, and I have no doubt, as they would like to do to allow parents to see their children.