Residential Care

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th November 1990.

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Photo of Mr Bernie Grant Mr Bernie Grant , Tottenham 12:00 am, 20th November 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that persons in residential care are enabled to have individual rooms if they so desire.

Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Minister of State (Department of Health)

That is a matter for local authorities. To assist local authorities, we have issued guidance that makes it clear that residents should have the choice of single rooms wherever that is preferred and practicable.

Photo of Mr Bernie Grant Mr Bernie Grant , Tottenham

Is the Minister aware that thousands of residents in care homes have to share a room and that in some cases there are four or five people to a room? How would she like to have to share a room in her old age with four or five other people? What is she going to do about it? Is she aware of the two major reports that have been published, the Wagner report and the Home Life report, which both state that it is highly desirable that elderly people should have individual rooms? Is she further aware of the representations that have been made by organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing, which said that in old age, residents of such homes need choice, dignity and to be cared for properly? What will the Minister do about all this?

Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Minister of State (Department of Health)

It is my intention and hope to share my room with one person in my old age, but perhaps with no more. We are intent on improving standards in residential care homes. We have a training initiative to improve the quality of care. New inspection units were established by local authorities this April and it will be important that local authorities meet the standards that they have been setting for the private sector for many years. Our community care plans should ensure that proper support is provided in the community as well as residential support being provided, where appropriate, for those who need it.