Old People, Gateshead

Oral Answers to Questions — Hospitals – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Harry Randall Mr Harry Randall , Gateshead West 12:00 am, 28th November 1960

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the number of people over 65 years of age in Gateshead requiring hospital accommodation who could not be accepted because of lack of beds and have been sent to a mental hospital.

Photo of Mr Harry Randall Mr Harry Randall , Gateshead West

Is the hon. Lady aware that the Gateshead medical officer of health has stated in the Press that there are about 68 old people of over 65 years of age in a mental hospital, and that he went on to say that many of these old people felt it was a stigma to be sent to a mental hospital? May I ask the hon. Lady if she will re-examine this matter? Would she agree that, if the facts are as stated, the 41 additional beds for geriatric patients which she mentioned in answer to a previous Question is an inadequate number, and that something ought to be done to deal with this human problem?

Photo of Miss Edith Pitt Miss Edith Pitt , Birmingham, Edgbaston

If that is so, I should certainly be prepared to look at it, but I am wondering whether there is some confusion here. I am advised that in the welfare home of the county borough, which is called Fountain View, of 271 occupied places, 71 are taken by persons with some mental impairment, but that is not a mental hospital.

Photo of Mr Harry Randall Mr Harry Randall , Gateshead West

May I ask the hon. Lady to make further inquiries? The medical officer of health says that there has been no alternative to placing them in a mental hospital. That is regarded as quite scandalous and ought to be examined.

Photo of Miss Edith Pitt Miss Edith Pitt , Birmingham, Edgbaston

My information is not the same as that of the hon. Gentleman, but I will certainly look into it.