§ Ms Kelly
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients resident at Royal Bolton hospital on 1 June had been forced to remain in hospital for longer than their treatment required because suitable residential or day care support was not available; how many such patients had been resident at the hospital for(a) up to one week, (b) up to two weeks, (c) up to one month, (d) up to two months and (e) three months or more; and what estimate he has made of the additional financial costs to the NHS of these extended periods of care. 
§ Mr. Boateng
Effective communication between health and social services staff is crucial for people who need continuing care after a spell in hospital. Wigan and Bolton Health Authority and Bolton Social Services department work closely together to ensure that no patient is subject to unnecessary delay.322W
Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust do not have an information system which collects data on blocked beds, but a periodic census is completed manually, covering patients aged over 75 years. We understand from the trust that an additional census of these patients was undertaken on 17 June 1997 and the following position was recorded:
Reason Number of patients Awaiting completion of assessment 9 Awaiting nursing/residential home package 7 Awaiting domiciliary care package 1 Decision on continuing care under review 2 Other reason 1 Total 20
Time delayed Number of patients Less than one week 13 One—Two weeks 6 Two—Three weeks 1 Total 20
A further six patients aged under 75 years were awaiting a community care package.
The average cost per day for an elderly medical patient in the Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust is £120.
§ Ms Kelly
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for the most recent date for which figures are available the number of people in the Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust area awaiting non-emergency treatment(a) up to 12 months, (b) up to 18 months, (c) up to 24 months and (d) over 24 months. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The latest available information gives the position on 31 March 1997. On that date 5,938 patients were waiting for admission to Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust, on either an inpatient or day case basis, of whom 5,918 had been waiting less than 12 months and all of whom had been waiting less than 18 months.