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The pattern of hypothermia from year to year is confusing. It is not clear why the figures vary. Speaking from memory, it has been decided that the chief medical officer should prepare a report so that we can consider it. I am pleased to tell the hon. Gentleman that the excess winter mortality figures, which are another measurement, are falling steadily from decade to decade. The latest figures for 1987 are encouraging. Although one should not place too much emphasis on any single year, the trend is downwards.
Finally, we must get away from the notion that elderly people are simply the passive recipients of services. Many have a good deal to offer society and there is a challenge for all of us to help and encourage them to do so. Britain has a proud and long-standing tradition of charitable voluntary action. For many old people voluntary action provides an opportunity to give and to be involved, arid for many others help comes from those activities.
Voluntary organisations also have a vital role to play in helping the elderly, but to play that part to the full, they need the co-operation of the statutory services and to share their ideas and plans. That is the real challenge for all of us, because that is the way to keep the elderly involved in society. That, as well as their financial well-being, is important to the elderly.
Question put and agreed to.
Adjourned accordingly at one minute to 3 o'clock.