Mental Institutions (Accommodation).

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health. – in the House of Commons on 19th December 1929.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

58.

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking to provide suitable accommodation and care for the many cases of mentally deficient children who have been recommended for institutional treatment by mental deficiency committees, but who are not receiving it?

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

I am aware of the existing inadequacy of institutional accommodation for mental defectives, both adults and juveniles, and local authorities are being urged to carry out their statutory duty to provide institutional accommodation.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many hundreds, and possibly thousands, of mentally deficient children who are in lunatic asylums, and very often where they should not be?

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

That is a condition which I know exists in many areas, and I am doing my best to persuade local authorities to make provision.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

Has the right hon. Gentleman no powers where persuasion fails? If not, will he take steps to secure such powers?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

59.

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking or intends to take to prevent the present overcrowding of public mental hospitals?

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

Though there is a shortage of accommodation in public mental hospitals, there are relatively few cases of serious overcrowding. The position has already received my attention. Approval has been given to certain proposals for extending mental hospital accommodation, and others are under consideration. It is anticipated that these extensions will largely meet the present shortage; and further alleviation of the position may result from the survey of institutional accommodation which may become available under the Local Government Act.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many mental hospitals in the home counties where the patients are sleeping on the floor, and that certain authorities in the home and other counties are reluctant to develop fresh institutions owing to alleged financial stringency?

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

As regards the first part of the question, I do not know the particular cases which the hon. Member has in mind. As regards the second part of the question, it is perfectly—

HON. MEMBERS:

We cannot hear! Address the Speaker!

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

On a point of Order. May I call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the difficulties which we have on this side owing to the habit of Ministers of turning round to their own supporters?

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

It is my question. If the right hon. Gentleman speaks to the other side of the House, it is difficult for us to hear on this side.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL:

Is it not the duty of Ministers to address the Chair?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That is always the best plan.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

As regards the second part of the question, it is true that a number of local authorities—

HON. MEMBERS:

Speak up!

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Can the right hon. Gentleman be provided with a revolving platform?

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Nelson and Colne

A number of local authorities have been reluctant to undertake expenditure on mental hospitals, but I have recently appointed a committee with a view to reducing the cost of these institutions; local authorities are now being pressed to exercise their duties, and I hope that within a reasonable time there will be adequate accommodation for mental cases.

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

We cannot hear the right hon. Gentleman at this end of the House. Is it in order for a Minister to face both ways?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

We have had so many points of Order that we had better get on with the questions?