HC Deb 24 February 1964 vol 690 cc3-4
5. Commander Kerans

asked the Minister of Health what rules and regulations are now in force regarding the admission of children with mothers as recommended in the Platt Committee Report of 1959.

25. Mr. J. Silverman

asked the Minister of Health what further steps he has taken to implement the provisions of the Platt Report on the Welfare of Children in Hospital which relate to the access of mothers to children in hospital and the provision of accommodation in hospital for mother and child.

Mr. Barber

Hospital authorities were asked to implement this recommendation where possible and the great majority do allow unrestricted visiting. I am continuing to urge the others to do so.

A Hospital Building Note will shortly be issued giving guidance on accommodation for mothers with their children.

Commander Kerans

While I am grateful for that reply, will my right hon. Friend continue to urge local authorities, especially in the North-East, to try to implement this very important provision of the Platt Report?

Mr. Silverman

So far as access is concerned, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this provision has been implemented in certain cases in a restricted way and that there is a great deal more to be done in a large number of hospitals? Will he press the hospi- tals to proceed with both recommendations of the Platt Committee?

Mr. Barber

As my hon. and gallant Friend and the hon. Gentleman have suggested, I will certainly press on. I think it is worth noting that unrestricted visiting—by which I mean visiting by the parents at any reasonable hour of the day—is now operative in three-quarters of the hospitals in England and Wales. About a year ago the corresponding proportion was about two-thirds. So we are making progress. But we are certainly not satisfied yet.

Mr. K. Robinson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many hospitals at this moment allow the admission of mothers with children under 5?

Mr. Barber

I am afraid that I could not give that figure without notice. All I can say is that we certainly accept the recommendations of the Platt Committee. As the hon. Gentleman will realise, in some cases, especially in the older hospitals, the circumstances are such that it is very difficult to allow mothers to stay in hospital with their children. But this is something which we wish to encourage whenever possible, and the new building note which gives guidance on the matter, which we shall be issuing shortly, will, I hope, be a great help.