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Geriatric Care

Volume 129: debated on Friday 18 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure that Health Service managers and practitioners are informed of his Department's policy on geriatric care; and what measures are being taken to ensure that they are carrying out the policy.

Our policy for geriatric care remains as set out in the 1981 White Paper "Growing Older", as amplified and extended by the annual planning guidelines issued to health authorities.We monitor the effectiveness of service in a range of ways; including regular reports on aspects of performance, statistical returns of activity levels, and annual reviews with regional health authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will make it his policy to issue guidelines to health authorities to provide for the continuation of geriatric nurse training to ensure the provision of competent practitioners for this client group;(2) what plans he has to ensure the full use of specialist trained geriatric nurses in patterns of service training.

All nurse learners have an allocation to elderly care units as part of their basic training. In addition, outline curricula for two post-basic clinical courses on care of the elderly have been published by the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting. It is for health authorities to determine their training needs, and seek approval to run courses based on these curricula.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment he has made of the value to geriatric services of improvements in co-ordination and co-operation between various agencies involved, rather than a single agency taking lead responsibility; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Health's reply to him on 16 March at column 614. Similar considerations apply to care services for elderly people.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) geriatric (b) mentally handicapped and (c) mentally ill people are waiting in special hospitals for places to be offered them in local authority residential homes.

The table shows the number of patients in the special hospitals who, at 16 January, were waiting for places to be offered them in local authority residential homes:

BroadmoorMoss SidePark LaneRampton
Geriatric1
Mentally handicapped116
Mentally ill people224
1 Detained patients who are either mentally impaired or severely mentally impaired.
2 Detained patients who are either mentally ill or psychopathically disordered.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines have been issued by his Department to health authorities concerning the detaining of (a) geriatric, (b) mentally ill and (c) mentally handicapped people in special hospitals while waiting for places in local authority residential homes.

The Department has issued no guidelines to health authorities on this matter. Guidelines issued to the special hospitals on the care of elderly and long-stay patients recommend that where such a patient is ready for discharge before suitable alternative provision has been made, he should be allowed to remain in the special hospital temporarily as an informal patient.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) privately run nursing homes and (b) local authority run nursing homes accept elderly severely mentally ill people in each local authority area in England.

The information requested is not available. The numbers of private and local authority homes and hostels for the mentally ill in each local authority are published in "Homes and Hostels for Mentally Ill and Mentally Handicapped People". The numbers of private and local authority homes for the elderly and younger physically handicapped people in each local authority are published in "Residential Accommodation for the Elderly and Younger Physically Handicapped People: All Residents in Local Authority, Voluntary and Private Homes". Both these publications are available in the Library, the latest relating to 1986.