asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of aged infirm in Glasgow awaiting admission to hospital for treatment and care and the average weekly admission; and what system is adopted by the Regional Hospital Board to see that each hospital accepts its responsibility in this essential service to the aged infirm.
The Regional Hospital Board are at present inquiring into this whole problem in order to determine the responsibilities of each of the hospitals concerned for this class of patient, but no complete information of the kind for which the hon. Member asks is yet available. The Board have a Central Admission Bureau which is gradually assuming responsibility for hospital admissions in the Glasgow area and especially for this class of person.
Does my right hon. Friend say that the inquiry into the responsibilities for these aged infirm people has been taking place ever since the Act came into operation in July, 1948? Surely, whilst the inquiry is being made they should be entitled to some form of easing of their troubles.
The point is that until July, 1948, the voluntary hospitals had no responsibility at all for this type of patient; that was dealt with by the local authority. This is an entirely new responsibility. Unfortunately, however, a number of people are contracting tuberculosis because there are not enough nurses to permit of hospital treatment. Therefore, in deciding who shall go into hospital first, we must select the most urgent cases. I think that many old people would agree that those whose lives are at stake should receive priority in treatment.
I am not satisfied.