Skip to main content

Surgery (Resources)

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what surveys he has made of patients in acute surgical wards to determine what percentage of them could be transferred to second-line beds without detriment to their medical condition;(2) if he is aware of the survey of all patients in general surgical urological, and orthopaedic and accident wards carried out in Glasgow on one day in June 1975 to define features of acute surgical practice of relevance to the future planning of resources; and if he will consider carrying out a similar survey in a major city in England;(3) what is his estimate of the proportion of patients over 65 years of age occuying beds in acute surgical wards who no longer need such facilities and could be transferred to second-line beds.

The report to which the right hon. Gentleman refers was published in the British Medical Journal of 26th February 1977 and is being studied. No directly comparable recent survey has been undertaken by my Department, but the report confirms similar findings in other studies over the years which have been taken into account in departmental guidance on health service planning, including the planning of community hospitals. It is widely recognised that there is a problem in many areas of acute surgical beds being occupied by elderly patients who no longer need such facilities, but there are no reliable overall estimates. The situation varies from one district to another, and it is for individual health authorities to monitor and determine on the action necessary. Where the need is for improvement to community services the joint financing of projects by health authorities and local authorities, for which I recently announced additional funds, should be of material help.