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Old People's Homes And Hospitals

Volume 961: debated on Monday 22 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his Department is preparing contingency plans for supplying food to old people's homes and hospitals; and, if so, what these plans are.

Contingency plans for the supply of food to old people's homes and to hospitals are, in the first instance, the responsibility of local authorities' social services departments and health authorities respectively. During the present industrial action by lorry drivers, the authorities can put specific problems of supply of food to welfare and hospital institutions to regional emergency committees, on which my Department is represented, for action.My Department was given to understand that Health Service establishments were not to be denied supplies of food and provisions. Although some local difficulties have been experienced, deliveries of most foodstuffs have been reasonable to date. However, we are advised by some manufacturers that, because sup- plies of raw materials have been either restricted or stopped, production for stock has now virtually ceased. The problem, therefore, is not now one of finished goods to hospitals, but the decreasing availability of some items of food.