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Geriatric Beds

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many geriatric beds are presently occupied in the Kirkcaldy constituency area; and how many additional beds for geriatric patients will become available for the same area by 30 November 1980.

The average number of occupied geriatric beds in the Kirkcaldy constituency area for the year ended 31 March 1979 was 127. An additional 14 geriatric beds will be provided in the area on the completion of the upgrading scheme at Forth Park hospital expected in 1980.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware of the tragic circumstances in which many old and infirm people are at present living, and in many cases dying? Will the Minister press the Treasury to give the necessary finance in order to remedy the acute shortage of geriatric beds in my area? At the same time, will he also ask for a fairly large increase in the death grant?

The hon. Gentleman knows that over the past 10 years hon. Members on both sides of the House have been putting questions about the shortage of geriatric beds in the Fife area. The health board has in recent years been making considerable moves to alter the balance here. I entirely appreciate the hon. Gentleman's views on the position of the old and infirm. In respect of that, may I remind the hon. Gentleman, and hon. Members generally, that, in spite of what they may have thought, in the forthcoming year we intend to spend in Scotland £24 million more than is being spent this year on the health services. That is some proof of what the Government feel about the type of person to whom the lion. Member refers.