§ Mr. Michael Cocks
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to increase the number of geriatric beds in the Bristol area, in view of the fact that beds are not available to care for bedridden elderly people while their relatives take a holiday from constant care.
§ Mr. Alison
No. The number of geriatric beds in the Bristol clinical area is not appreciably below the national average. The South-Western Regional Hospital Board has for some years operated in Bristol the Department's policy of providing short-term hospital care for elderly patients to enable their relatives to take a holiday. I am aware that staffing difficulties in one of the194W Bristol hospitals—Manor Park—have led to the temporary closure of two geriatric wards and that this has affected the number of short-term holiday admissions. The Regional Hospital Board is examining ways of overcoming these staffing difficulties.