§ 20. Mr. Randall
asked the Minister of Health what immediate steps he proposes to take to increase hospital accommodation for the chronic sick of Gateshead.
§ Mr. R. Thompson
I understand that the regional hospital board has provided 25 additional beds this year and will add another 27 within the next few months.
§ Mr. Randall
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the number of older persons—over 70 years of age—who have been admitted to the Gateshead mental institution? Would he not agree that they would be much better cared for in geriatric accommodation rather than in a mental institution; and will he look further into this matter?
§ Mr. Thompson
I am aware of the great need that exists here. Up to two years ago we had only 66 such beds, but since then the board has added another 55, including the 25 early this year; and the total addition by next year will be 82. I think, therefore, that the thing is going along reasonably well.