§ Mr. John
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what factors caused the decrease in the number of geriatric beds in Wales per 1,000 population over 65 years and per 1,000 population over 75 years between 1978 and 1982; and if he will seek evidence to establish whether there is an unsatisfied demand for such beds.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
The number of geriatric beds in Wales remained broadly constant between 1978 and 1982 leading to a fall from 9.8 to 9.3 per 1,000 of the population over 65 years and from 26.7 to 23.8 over 75 years. In the same period the number of patients treated in the geriatric specialty, per 1,000 of the population over 65 years, increased from 46.7 to 55.6 and from 127.5 to 142.5 over 75 years. This reflects the trend in modem geriatric practice away from long stay care and towards short stay intensive treatment and rehabilitation. The balance of provision in the light of local needs is a matter for individual health authorities.