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Hospital Patients (Visitors' Travel Expenses)

Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what mandatory and what discretionary powers are vested in area health authorities, in county and district councils, and in his Department's local offices to help pensioners, disabled persons and others on low incomes travel to visit close relatives in hospital.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular HM(73)20 issued in May 1973 by my Department and the Welsh Office for the guidance of health authorities.There are no specific mandatory or discretionary powers under which local authorities may provide a person with assistance towards the cost of visiting close relatives in hospital. However, Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides local authorities with very wide financial powers to meet expenditure not covered by other enactments

procedure and ( b) courts of summary procedure;

(3) if he will publish figures distinguishing by sex, by age groups 16 to 21 years and 21 years and over, and by type of procedure showing in how many cases of persons put on probation in each of the years 1971 to 1976 inclusive, the probationer ( a) had no previous convictions, and ( b) had at least one but not more than three previous convictions.

The information is given in the following table.and it would be for each individual authority to decide whether it would be justified in using the powers for this purpose.