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Residential Care (Cost)

Volume 889: debated on Tuesday 25 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the weekly cost of care, both running and capital, in acute hospitals, chronic hospitals, Part III accommodation, and within the person's own home, respectively.

In 1973–74 average costs per week were £110 in acute hospitals, £87 in long stay hospitals and £22 in Part III accommodation. Costs of care in the home are not available.

I will, with permission, circulate further information in the Official Report.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he take it from me that evidence exists that caring for the chronically sick at home is much cheaper and is what the patient requires? Will he immediately shift some of the scarce resources away from hospital to local authorities in joint consultation with all concerned? Will he accept that this would result in a substantial number of people who are chronically sick being able to spend the rest of their lives comfortably with their loved ones at home?

The Government's policy is to enable the elderly, the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped to be cared for as far as possible in the community rather than in hospital and to improve the standard of hospital provision for those who must stay there. It is difficult to achieve this at a time of financial restraint. I agree that a great deal depends on joint planning between local authorities, particularly the social service departments and housing departments, and area health authorities.

In this time of financial restraint, would it not make much more sense to put greater emphasis on some of the domiciliary care allowances such as invalid care allowance, which has recently been introduced? Should not this be spread much more widely and be made available to more people to keep them out of hospital?

I agree that it would make more sense. We shall bear in mind any positive suggestions that are made. We are constantly looking at ways of improving domiciliary services and of keeping patients in their homes. This is an important matter on which hon. Members on all sides of the House are in agreement.

Following is the information:

For acute hospitals the costs per patient week are running costs excluding capital, as the capital costs of hospitals. many of which were constructed before the start of the National Health Service, are not identifiable for costing purposes. The classification "chronic" is not used for hospitals but a figure for long-stay hospitals is provided.
In 1973–74 costs in Part III accommodation per week per resident were £19 for running expenses and £3 for servicing capital loans, before deduction of the income from charges.
Care in the community is provided mainly by the Family Practitioner Services, the Community Health Services and Personal Social Services, but the cost of these services, insofar as they are provided in the home, cannot be expressed in terms of a weekly cost.