asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to overcome the acute shortage of accommodation for the elderly sick in the County of Essex.
The Regional Hospital Board have asked that at least 10 per cent. of the beds in each general hospital should be set aside for chronic sick patients. Additional beds have been provided as staff has become available, special geriatric units have been set up, and arrangements have been made for private institutions to take a considerable number of patients. Everything possible will continue to be done compatible with the staff and medical resources available.
While appreciating that answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that there are still large numbers of people, in Essex at least, who, in the opinion of their doctors, should be removed to a hospital? As great suffering is caused thereby, will the Minister not treat this matter with greater urgency?
There is a very large number of people in this category, far more than ever there were and far more in hospitals now than ever before. This is a very difficult and grave social problem.
Is the Minister aware that of all the people who have been helped by the National Health Service Act the old, chronically sick have been helped least of all? Is it not a fact that they were better housed in Poor Law institutions and——
Arguments are not in order at Question time. Hon. Members should only ask for information, or press for Government action.
Is it not a fact——