asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether it is his policy to encourage or discourage mixed wards in hospitals.
This is essentially a matter for local decision. Health authorities may consider the flexible use of facilities suitable for accommodating male and female patients as a means of helping to treat more patients with available resources, but would be expected to follow the general principles which were set out in the reply by my right hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) on 6th August 1976.—[Vol. 916, c. 1172–3.]