HC Deb 19 March 1968 vol 761 cc220-1
23. Mr. Fortescue

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to improve the present position in which many young and middle aged invalids live permanently in geriatric wards.

Mr. K. Robinson

I am considering what advice might be given to hospital authorities on the care of younger chronic sick patients.

Mr. Fortescue

Would not the Minister agree that possibly the best way of assisting in this difficult situation would be to give every encouragement to the development of home-care facilities for geriatric patients?

Mr. Robinson

The survey of the younger chronic sick in hospitals which we carried out last year showed that the number in geriatric wards was less than had previously been estimated. Of the 4,223 younger chronic sick in-patients, only 74 of those between the ages of 16 and 34 were in geriatric wards.

Dr. David Kerr

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there is also an argument which says that older people in geriatric wards are helped considerably by the presence of younger, more active and alert patients? Will he do all that he can to improve the lot of all people who have the misfortune to be incarcerated in this way?

Mr. Robinson

I understand that the arguments are not all in one direction.

Mr. Dean

Does not the Minister agree that home services for all these people would be more economic and better for them in most cases?

Mr. Robinson

This depends entirely on the condition of the patient.