HC Deb 11 June 1968 vol 766 cc19-20
22. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the evidence as to the number of old people not getting the services they need, put forward by the Officer of Health Economics, details of which have been sent to him; what conclusion he has reached; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Snow

The research reported in this useful publication is well known both to my Department and to the authorities responsible for providing services. Development of existing services will continue, and the authorities' powers will be greatly augmented by Clause 45 of the Health Services and Public Health Bill at present before Parliament.

Mr. Fisher

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that nearly three-quarters of a million people over the age of 65 who are in need of, for example, chiropody services, are not receiving them and that the demand for the home help service is more than twice the rate of supply? Will he seek to extend these services which are so important to old people?

Mr. Snow

If the hon. Gentleman examines the proceedings in Committee on the Clause to which I have referred he will see that the matter was adequately discussed, and we think that it will increase flexibility in the provision of the care and various services which he mentioned. These points were discussed and examined to the general satisfaction of that Committee, but perhaps we can look at the matter again.

Lord Balniel

Would the Parliamentary Secretary agree that many elderly people occupying expensive and scarce hospital beds could be more effectively and more happily cared for in sheltered accommodation with proper domiciliary services? Will he place the emphasis of his policy on short-stay geriatric units coupled with adequate domiciliary services?

Mr. Snow

That is the emphasis which we are at present placing, but we believe that the increased general facilities about which I spoke when answering his hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) cover the point he has made, in addition to the more general question.