§ 16. Mr. Driberg
asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement on the recent investigation of the care and treatment provided for elderly patients at St. George's Hospital, Hornchurch.
§ Mr. Braine
There have been difficulties at this hospital which it is hoped to remedy by adding to the nursing staff and appointing a whole-time geriatrician, but no deficiencies in the care and treatment of patients have been established. I have written fully to the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Driberg
While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his very full and thorough replies, and appreciating the staffing difficulties, may I ask him, nevertheless, whether any of the former patients or their relatives whose specific complaints have been forwarded to him were interviewed by the persons conducting the inquiry which was held, as he told me, after a number of complaints had been made? If not, why not, since without the evidence on that side the result of the inquiry must inevitably seem rather one-sided?
§ Mr. Braine
I cannot say off the cuff whether anybody was actually seen. can say that there has been a thorough investigation. The general allegations, some of which were conveyed to me by the hon. Gentleman and which I have endeavoured to answer, have been examined. I must add that we have had many communications of a contrary kind. I readily acknowledge that there are difficulties at this hospital, but many local people have appreciated the care 955 and devotion of the staff and the hospital has received many letters of appreciation. I think that the appointment of a whole-time geriatrician here will help very considerably, and the board is now considering the further development of the medical, nursing and rehabilitation services at this hospital.