Has the Parliamentary Secretary observed that a great wave of sympathy has been expressed for this lady, that she has been provided with a car which has been subscribed for, including subscriptions from hon. Members on both sides of the House, and does he not feel rather ashamed that public opinion should be so far ahead of the Government?
No, Sir. I want to make it absolutely clear that I have the greatest possible sympathy with this lady, and with a lot of other persons in similar circumstances who are disabled. I am not ashamed that public opinion is in advance of me, because we are tackling this problem, when it could have been tackled in 1964.
But does not the hon. Gentleman recognise that this is the very sort of case that would be discovered by the type of co-ordinated arrangements we proposed, whereby someone would have been going round looking for cases of need under a more flexible service? Is not this the very sort of problem we all want to solve as quickly as we possibly can?
Will the Minister listen to the question I am putting to him? Does he not agree that under the type of arrangement we have proposed people would have the responsibility to go out and find this kind of need? I believe that the hon. Gentleman would have tried to do something about this case had he known about it. If we could go out and find this kind of need, we could have more flexible arrangements.
In the light of the conditions revealed in the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee), and in view of the fact that the difference in cost between the almost antediluvian invalid tricycle and the current minicar specially adapted for paraplegics is now very small, will the Minister consider the total abolition of tricycles and the issue of minicars in all cases?
We may consider the abolition of the tricycles, but I should not like the impression to circulate that these vehicles are antediluvian. Very many thousands of patients are very grateful that we have this type of vehicle, and even were we to issue cars, tricycles would be required in some cases.