§ 49. Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Minister of Health what progress is being made towards establishing more young chronic sick units near patients' homes and abolishing the present practice of confining the young chronic sick in geriatric wards with the senile; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Morris
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is particularly widespread concern about the facilities available for the young chronic sick? Can he offer any hope of progress in the near future?
§ Mr. Snow
Yes. My right hon. Friend has instructed that on the basis of the earlier pilot scheme there shall be a survey to establish the problem affectting the numbers of young chronic sick in hospitals. The problem is made the more difficult by the lack of precise information at present. It is not correct to say that all young chronic sick are in geriatric wards. Half were in geriatric or chronic sick wards earlier last year, two-thirds of whom were between the ages of 51 and 60, and, of the balance, 650 were in young chronic sick units or contractual beds. The remainder were in general wards.
§ Mr. Braine
This is the second time this afternoon that the hon. Gentleman has referred to a lack of adequate information on this subject. Is he not aware that some years ago the Oxford Regional Hospital Board carried out a survey which revealed quite clearly that one out of every three of these chronic sick patients could be released from hospital to home if there were adequate home nursing or a constant attendance allowance?
§ 50. Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Minister of Health what consideration has been given to enrolling and training special medical home helps to reduce the numbers of the young chronic sick who are confined in geriatric wards; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Morris
May I inform my hon. Friend—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] —Is 1108 my hon. Friend aware that it is considered by many people to be a crime that any young chronic sick should be in a geriatric ward? Will he state what is to be done in the near future to encourage local authorities to take much more action than they are taking at present?
§ Mr. Snow
This was done in March, 1966. Local authorities were asked to review their internal arrangements for co-ordinating the services for handicapped children and school leavers and to take into account the chronic sick aspect of it. We are carrying out this survey. We are fully conscious of the serious nature of the problem.