HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 cc550-1
1. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Health how many mentally subnormal children and adults have been refused beds in state institutions; and if he will arrange to meet the cost of their care in private homes.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Bernard Braine)

Admission is not refused to any patient who needs it. Total waiting lists were 2,498 children and 2,065 adults at the end of 1961. Hospital authorities already obtain beds in private institutions under contract.

Mr. Spriggs

The Parliamentary Secretary has evaded part of the Question. Will his right hon. Friend consider meeting the cost involved in the case of patients who have to take beds in private institutions because of shortages in State institutions?

Mr. Braine

Regional hospital boards now have power to make contractual arrangements with private establishments which provide hospital accommodation. I know that the hon. Member has been worried about a particular case. I am glad to be able to tell him that the child in question is now receiving suitable care, pending admission to hospital.

2. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Health what his Department is doing to provide institutional care for mentally subnormal children and adults; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Braine

I would refer the hon. Member to Command Paper 1604.

Mr. Spriggs

Will the Parliamentary Secretary take into consideration the problem created by the number of serious cases for Which beds in State hospitals cannot be found, and will he report to the House?

Mr. Braine

I realise that there is a shortage of beds in the Liverpool region, and my right hon. Friend will take note of what the hon. Gentleman says. I might add that the hospital plan envisages the provision of about 12,000 new beds by 1975. Many will be used to take the place of the present unsatisfactory accommodation. But there will be a net increase and considerable progress is being achieved.

Mr. K. Robinson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the growing opinion that the need for hospital beds for the subnormal and severely subnormal has been seriously underestimated? Does not he think that the time has come for a nation-wide survey into that need and, if necessary, a revision of the plan?

Mr. Braine

As I think the hon. Gentleman knows, recommendations for radical revisions may be necessary in the light of further research.