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Spastic Children

Volume 640: debated on Monday 8 May 1961

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49.

asked the Minister of Health if he will state his plans for supplying permanent hospital accommodation for every bedridden spastic child.

Hospital authorities have been asked to propose long-term development programmes. My right hon. Friend would expect any shortages in this field to receive due priority in these programmes.

Does the hon. Lady recall that not long ago she sent me a letter saying that the Ministry was not aware of the number of bedridden spastic children? May I beg her and her right hon. Friend to realise that the parents of these children are in a terrible position, especially when there are other children to be looked after? It is a terrible strain upon them. Will she and her right hon. Friend give this matter the greatest urgency, find out the numbers of children involved, and make certain that accommodation is found for them?

No records are kept of waiting lists for spastic children because they can be accommodated in different kinds of hospitals. Some need orthop├Ždic treatment and others need different accommodation. When plans are put before us, we will expect, because these children will be known also to local authorities, that regional hospital boards will take into account the needs of their areas.

Is the hon. Lady aware that this is to be a ten-year programme, so that it will be impossible to look after those children who are suffering now? Cannot she promise, in view of that, to do something now, as it is urgently necessary to make sure that permanent accommodation is found in hospitals for these children?

We are doing our best, but there are demands in all sections of hospital work. In the case the hon. Gentleman brought to my notice, temporary accommodation was found for eight weeks, and I hope that that will be continued.