asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the cost of a single bed in an asylum, including building and administrative expenditure, amounts to £500 per annum; that the number of asylum inmates increases by over 2,000 annually while the recovery rate remains stationary; and whether, in the interests of economy, he will take steps to secure that preventive measures shall be adopted at an early stage by the provision of suitable and inexpensive hostels, run by the local authorities and unconnected with lunacy, for such slight and temporary cases as do not require detention?
Sir H. YOUNG:
The initial cost of providing a bed in a mental hospital may be estimated at £500 at present, but the annual cost of maintaining it is about £70. The hon. Member's suggestion is impracticable, because the adequate preventive treatment of incipient cases requires resources of staff and equipment which could not be provided in inexpensive hostels.