HC Deb 13 February 1967 vol 741 cc69-71
6. Mr. Winnick

asked the Minister of Health how many chronic sick patients under 60 years of age have been taken out of geriatric wards in hospitals and placed in more suitable accommodation in the last 18 months.

Mr. Snow

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Winnick

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a great deal of public concern about this whole matter? Has he been in touch with the Chelsea Labour Party which is organising a first-class campaign on this issue? Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to a recent article in The Guardian written by a former patient, which again has caused a great deal of comment?

Mr. Snow

I am in touch with the Chelsea Labour Party on this matter. In my view, the Chelsea Labour Party has carried out a very good service indeed in drawing public attention to this matter. A pilot survey by my right hon. Friend on the question of younger chronic sick in hospital is in the process of being organised.

22. Dr. David Owen

asked the Minister of Health if he will instruct regional hospital boards to provide a service for relatives and friends of the bedridden chronic sick so that for a period of weeks once or twice a year they can be admitted to hospital to allow a rest and holiday for the people who undertake their care at home.

Mr. K. Robinson

Hospital authorities already provide this service wherever possible.

Dr. Owen

Is the Minister aware that this service is provided at only a few centres, that where it is provided it is possibly the greatest single factor in keeping patients at home and that an extension of this service would be greatly appreciated?

Mr. Robinson

I agree with the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary, but not with the first because my information is that hospital authorities in general are fully aware of the value of the short-term admission of patients who are normally cared for at home. My hon. Friend will be interested to learn that there are arrangements for such short-term admissions in the Plymouth area.

Dame Irene Ward

Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly oblige those of us who are interested in this matter by letting us have a list of those who provide this service so that we in the House may know who to smack on the head for not providing it? Is it not apparent that when a good example is set, it would be a good thing to let the country know who is setting it, which will in turn enable the country to know who is lagging behind?

Mr. Robinson

I am very willing to oblige the hon. Lady by giving her any information for which she asks in a Question placed on the Order Paper, but not necessarily for the purpose of smacking people on the head.