Hospitals (Terminal Patients, Privacy)

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th November 1971.

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Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester North West 12:00 am, 9th November 1971

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will require hospital boards and management committees to take steps to ensure that patients are enabled to die in the maximum privacy and with the minimum distress to other patients.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

We have every reason to believe that hospital authorities and their staff are already fully aware of the need to meet these aims.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester North West

If the Minister believes that hospital authorities are aware of the need to do this, why is not something positive being done about it? Is it not the fact that in the majority of cases it is known when a patient is about to die? Is it not realised that when a patient dies without privacy, a great deal of quite unnecessary suffering is caused to people in adjoining beds? For the sake of the patient and others, steps should be taken along the lines suggested.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

I appreciate the hon. and learned Gentleman's concern for the tragedy of terminal cases, but I ask him to recognise that he is not alone in this concern and that hospitals can be relied upon to feel the same sympathy and compassion for these cases as many of us in the House do. Everything is done to make them as happy as possible, and many of them prefer to go home or be taken away by their families.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that anyone who has ever been in a public ward, as I have, when a patient has died must be impressed by the self- restraint, dignity and respect shown to everyone concerned?