HC Deb 08 June 1971 vol 818 cc300-1W
Mr. Moate

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will publish details of the criteria adopted by local authorities for the assessment of need for telephones under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act;

(2) if he is satisfied with the way in which local authorities are implementing the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act with regard to the provision of telephones to the disabled; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alison

With the concurrence of the local authority associations I have arranged for the minimum criteria suggested in their circular of 17th March, with which we are in general agreement, to be printed below.

Following is the information:

Extract from the circular "The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970Provision of Telephones" issued by the Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Councils Association on 17th March, 1971. A period of time will be needed to gain experience of the working of these provisions and any suggestions about criteria must necessarily be provisional at this stage. Authorities are asked to let their appropriate Association know to what extent they find the following criteria to be, in practice, both fair and workable.

Criteria of Need People who meet the following minimum criteria should be provided with telephones. Either the medical or non-medical criteria should be satisfied in full and in either case there should be no family, friends or neighbours generally available and willing and able to help.

Medical Criteria

  1. (1) Has a prima facie need to get in touch with the doctor quickly and is in danger when left alone unless provided with a telephone.
  2. (2) Lives alone or, if not, is regularly and frequently left alone.

Non-Medical Criteria

  1. (1) Lives alone.
  2. (2) Able to indicate at least one person willing to be in touch by telephone and, in the view of the authority, needs a telephone to avoid isolation.
  3. (3) Unable in normal weather to leave the house without the help of another person.

In any particular situation authorities will wish to consider whether a problem is best solved by providing a telephone or by some other means.

In the case of medical need it will occasionally be necessary for authorities to consider applications from husband and wife living together and in such cases regard must be had to the medical condition of both parties and the extent to which the least handicapped partner is able to maintain contact with their doctor without a telephone.