Healing Aids

Oral Answers to Questions — National Health Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th July 1950.

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Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury and Radcliffe 12:00 am, 6th July 1950

asked the Minister of Health what is the average delay between the time of testing and the time of issue of hearing aids in all cases dealt with in hospital in the North-West; and what steps he is taking to decrease this delay.

Photo of Sir Harold Sutcliffe Sir Harold Sutcliffe , Heywood and Royton

asked the Minister of Health what is the average waiting period for aural aids in the North-Western area for those who are not on the priority list such as old age pensioners; and what steps he is taking to improve the present situation.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

The waiting period varies so much according to individual needs, that averages have no meaning. I cannot at present undertake to increase the facilities in this area.

Photo of Sir Walter Fletcher Sir Walter Fletcher , Bury and Radcliffe

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that delays of as much as 14 months are taking place; and is he satisfied that a really concerted and intelligent effort, using the mechanical genius of this country, is being made to tackle this very difficult problem?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

The mechanical genius available in this country has been used to tackle this problem for the first time in English history. We have already issued between 80,000 and 90,000 aural aids. The limitation is not the mechanical genius of the country, because we are producing them from the industry faster than we have the technicians to enable them to be given to patients.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

While appreciating what has been done, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that only 20 cases a week are allowed to go forward from the whole of the area covered by Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley? Does he think that this is satisfactory?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I think my hon. Friend's statement is probably wholly inaccurate.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

If my hon. Friend will send me the informtion I will have it investigated.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

My right hon. Friend has got it.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

At present we are sending out over 1,500 a week in the country as a whole.

Photo of Sir Harold Sutcliffe Sir Harold Sutcliffe , Heywood and Royton

Can the right hon. Gentleman hold out any hope at all to these old people, many of whom have worked for very many years in industry, that there will soon be shorter periods than two years for them to wait?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I am delighted to note the sense of urgency on the other side of the House on this matter, although it is very belated. It is obvious that at the moment the older ones will have to wait for those who need aural aids in their occupations; that is the reason why the older ones are being subjected to delay.

Photo of Mr Somerville Hastings Mr Somerville Hastings , Barking

Am I right in assuming that it was the genius of the Post Office engineers which was mainly responsible for this wonderful instrument?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

It was the co-operation between the physicians on the one hand and the Post Office engineers on the other that produced this aural aid.

Photo of Mr Charles Waterhouse Mr Charles Waterhouse , Leicester South East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are between 10 and 12 people in my constituency who have been waiting for over 12 months?

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I dare say that is true; they have now some hope of getting an aural aid where, formerly, they had none.