HC Deb 05 December 1960 vol 631 cc852-3
50. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the concern expressed about the deteriorating standards in many nursing homes for elderly people where charges range from 7 to 30 guineas a week, if he will set up a commitee to look into the matter; and if he will consider the need for legislation requiring these homes to register annually, and prescribing precise standards of furnishings and staffing.

Mr. Powell

A person carrying on any nursing home is required by law to be registered by the local authority and registration may be refused or cancelled. The premises are subject to inspection by the authority's officers. I am at present considering suggestions for strengthening the powers of the registration authorities.

Mr. Dodds

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that Dr. Fielding, medical officer of health, Bournemouth—where it is claimed there are more old people than in most towns—has complained bitterly about the deteriorating standards of nursing homes and asked for reforms which would necessitate legislation? Will the Minister look at that report from Dr. Fielding?

Mr. Powell

Yes, I will.

Dr. Summerskill

Am I right in saying that a person can keep two old people without having to register a place as a nursing home and that, in view of high rates and difficulty of housing these old people, there are opportunities for the most unpleasant sharks to exploit them? Will the Minister give attention to this question other than the question about nursing homes?

Mr. Powell

This is a Question about nursing homes and there is an obligation to register them.

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