HC Deb 01 December 1959 vol 614 cc990-1
21 and 22. Mrs. Hart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) the date of his most recent circular to regional hospital boards and boards of management for Scottish hospitals on the desirability of introducing daily visiting of children in hospital;

(2) how many hospitals in Scotland admitting sick children permitted daily visiting by parents at the latest date for which information is available.

Mr. Galbraith

A survey in 1956 showed that daily visiting was allowed at five hospitals out of the 53 with children's wards. Thirteen other hospitals allowed visiting on at least four days a week. Subsequently, in October of that year, my right hon. Friend's Department called the attention of hospital authorities to this survey and asked them to arrange for frequent visiting, with daily visiting wherever practicable.

Miss Hart

Is the Under-Secretary aware that in England three circulars have been sent out, beginning in 1948; that as a result the practice of daily visiting—which is so important to the mental and emotional health of children who have to be admitted to hospital—has very much increased? Does not the hon. Member agree that his Department has shown a deplorable lack of interest in this matter? Is he prepared to send another circular, at the earliest possible moment, to encourage hospitals in Scotland to adopt this practice?

Mr. Galbraith

I cannot agree with the conclusion which the hon. Lady has drawn. My right hon. Friend and I are most anxious to ensure that there is daily visiting, but a measure of discretion in this matter must be left to hospital authorities. I hope shortly to arrange for a further survey of the position, in order to see how it has improved since 1956.