HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 cc230-1
29. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to increase the number of geriatric beds in Scottish hospitals.

Mr. Millan

Schemes at present in progress or being planned should provide 680 additional beds by the end of this year, and up to 1,430 beds, including some replacement beds, by 1970. In the longer term there will be geriatric assessment and treatment untis at all the new district general hospitals now being planned, and day accommodation is also being provided at suitable hospitals.

Mr. Maclennan

Is my hon. Friend aware that this amounts to a welcome step forward, but is he satisfied that the measures being taken are sufficient to meet the growing needs of the elderly population?

Mr. Millan

On the present basis of caluculation, which is 15 geriatric beds for every 1,000 of the population over 65 years of age, the requirement is approximately 8,600 beds, and the present provision is approximately 8,000. As my hon. Friend will have noted, there are proposals for 1,400 beds by 1970, which should meet the estimated demand then, but, of course, the provision is not necessarily equally good everywhere in Scotland and at the moment there are patches where the provision is not satisfactory.

Mr. James Davidson

Is the Under-Secretary aware that there is a very great need for a type of accommodation somewhere between that provided in old folks' homes and that of geriatric beds in hospitals and that many patients fall into this category? They are taken into old folks' homes where there is not proper provision for them. Is the hon. Gentleman taking steps to deal with this aspect of the problem?

Mr. Millan

This is largely a matter for co-operation between local health authorities and hospital boards. If the hon. Member has particular difficulties in mind, I shall be glad to take them up, but there is need for a whole range of accommodation of different kinds.