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Volume 938: debated on Thursday 10 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance is given by his Department to hospitals of various categories on the subject of (a) ward layout, (b) staffing and treatment, (c) social facilities and personal freedom, especially in psychogeriatric wards.

Guidance on acute and psychiatric wards layout is given in Health Building Notes. Guidance is also given on the provision of services for groups of patients, including the elderly, children, the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped and for some particular services for instance, for chronic renal failure, radiotherapy and hospital scientific and technical services. In so far as it relates to staffing, such guidance is applied by area health authorities within the resources made available to them. Treatment is decided in each case by the doctor in charge in the exercise of his clinical judgment.A committee appointed by the Central Health Services Council produced last year a report on "The Organisation of the In Patient's Day" which examined aspects of hospital work that most closely affect the comfort and well-being of patients, including the care of the elderly in-patient and amenities and recreation. It emphasised the need to respect the dignity and individuality of each patient. My Department has commended the report for study by health authorities. The White Papers "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped (Cmnd. 4683) and" Better Services for the Mentally III "(Cmnd. 6233) discuss many aspects of facilities and care in hospitals and units for the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what help is given, financial or otherwise, to the voluntary services given to hospital patients by the hospital broadcasting local stations.

Accommodation and equipment is provided in some hospitals for the use of volunteers producing broadcasts for patients. I am not aware of any financial assistance given by health authorities but they may use Exchequer or non-Exchequer funds to assist in the provision of amenities.