§ Miss Lestor
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children have been abandoned in hospital during the last three years; and what action he is taking on this matter.
§ Mr. Alison
I regret that information is not available in the form requested, but surveys by my Department in 1969 and 1970 suggested that at any one time there are about 2,000 children in hospital who have not been visited by relatives for three months or more.
Last year my Department issued a circular to hospital authorities and local authorities on the maintenance of family links with children in hospital and the measures that should be taken to prevent abandonment. My right hon. Friend has also been in communication with 18W interested voluntary organisations about befriending children abandoned in hospital.