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Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards hospices; and if he favours the development of hospice provision throughout the country.

Terminally ill patients need a wide variety of services and some of them, especially those suffering from pain or other distressing symptoms, may best be treated in hospices which provide a suitable environment and appropriate services for such patients. I therefore support the development of hospices in principle; it is however for health authorities to determine what provision is needed locally. At present there are about 40 hospices in Great Britain, most of which receive support from NHS sources, with about 20 more at various stages of planning and development.