Geriatric Beds

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st July 1977.

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Photo of Mr James Kilfedder Mr James Kilfedder , North Down 12:00 am, 21st July 1977

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the amount of financial resources which has been devoted for the provision of geriatric beds in the present and the next following financial years.

Photo of Mr Raymond Carter Mr Raymond Carter , Birmingham, Northfield

It is planned to spent £1,416,000 this financial year and £1,104,000 next year on new geriatric beds and the upgrading of existing ones. Large sums are, of course, spent annually on the maintenance of existing facilities, but the accounts are not kept in a way that enables geriatric costs to be separately identified.

Photo of Mr James Kilfedder Mr James Kilfedder , North Down

Although this question of geriatric beds was ridiculed by United Ulster Unionist Council Members behind me, who wish to keep this Government in office, none the less that answer proves that I am right in seeking to get this Government out of office. It is a disgraceful situation in Northern Ireland

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. The hon. Gentleman may be quite correct, but he must ask a question.

Photo of Mr James Kilfedder Mr James Kilfedder , North Down

Will the Minister now take action to remedy the situation? Only last week four elderly persons, whose doctors said that they should be admitted to hospital as a matter of priority, could not get beds. It is quite disgraceful.

Photo of Mr Raymond Carter Mr Raymond Carter , Birmingham, Northfield

The hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) sounds more and more like a candidate for one of the beds.

In Northern Ireland we achieve 14.9 beds per 1,000, whereas the national average is 15. I should have thought that direct rule was doing quite well in terms of geriatric beds.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Southwark Bermondsey

Will my hon. Friend arrange for one of those beds to be given to the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder), who can stay there, for what good he is here?

Photo of Reverend Robert Bradford Reverend Robert Bradford , Belfast South

Will the Minister address his mind to another group of people who require round-the-clock attention—mentally handicapped children?

Currently 360 are awaiting vacancies in Muckamore Abbey Hospital, where beds become vacant but infrequently.

Photo of Mr Raymond Carter Mr Raymond Carter , Birmingham, Northfield

That is not entirely related to the question of geriatric beds. If the hon. Gentleman will let me have details of the matter that he has raised, I shall have it looked into and will send him a reply.