HC Deb 30 June 1958 vol 590 cc870-2
39. Mrs. Butler

asked the Minister of Health the present position with regard to the provision of a full geriatric service at the North Middlesex Hospital.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

The service is provided at present under the supervision of three general physicians.

In consultation with their medical advisory committee, the regional hospital board is considering the recommendations made in a circular of October last for improving the services for old people and the chronic sick. The board will be making proposals to its hospital management committees for improving existing services where necessary in the light of these recommendations.

Mrs. Butler

May I take it from the Minister's reply that the Board will not be suggesting the appointment of a fulltime geriatrician? Does he realise that the doctors and others concerned with elderly people in the area have been pressing for this appointment for the last six years, and that the position is getting extremely serious?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, Sir; I think the hon. Lady would not be justified in making an assumption either of a negative or a positive character in that regard. The regional hospital board will make proposals, as I have said, but it is not for me to say what those proposals will be.

Dr. Summerskill

With some knowledge of this hospital, may I ask the Minister to try to expedite this matter? This hospital serves one of the most congested areas of North London—Wood Green, Edmonton and Tottenham. Not only is it in urgent need of a geriatric service, but will the Minister realise that, when this has been introduced, it will facilitate the turnover of beds and, incidentally, will add to the harmony of the relationship between the doctors and the general practitioners?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes, Sir. This hospital is known to me, as is also the surrounding area to which the right hon. Lady has referred. All these considerations are in my mind and, I am satisfied, in the mind of the regional board.

40. Mrs. Butler

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory administrative arrangements controlling the admission to hospital of geriatric cases from Wood Green; and what action he proposes to take to remedy this.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am not aware that the administrative arrangements are unsatisfactory, but if the hon. Member will let me have details of what she has in mind, I should be glad to look into the matter with the regional boards concerned.

Mrs. Butler

But does the Minister realise that of the three hospitals which admit geriatric cases from Wood Green, the North Middlesex gives prior consideration to cases from N.9, N.17, and N.18 postal districts, and St. Ann's and the Prince of Wales's to the cases from the Borough of Tottenham and the marginal districts of other constituencies, so that Wood Green comes off very badly in this respect?

Mr. Walker-Smith

My information is that applications for the admission of patients from Wood Green receive exactly the same consideration as those from Edmonton, but I will certainly look at the matter again in the light of what the hon. Lady now says.

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