According to returns made by local health authorities on 1st January, 1951, there were 5,316 mental defectives awaiting admission to institutions. There is no reason to think that the proportion of mental defectives is increasing, but the number increases yearly with the population. Provision for these patients receives high priority in the hospital service, within the limits of capital investment and staff available.
I should not like to make a forecast, but we are doing all we can, and the regional hospital boards are being asked to devote special attention to this difficult problem.
—are waiting at home in the Liverpool area, and that only one vacancy has been offered by the regional board in 12 months? These cases are usually dangerous cases in the home, and are causing great concern to parents and others who look after them.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the reasons why there are now more mental defectives and more certified lunatics in the country than there were before the Socialist Government came into power?
I have already said that, unfortunately, the proportion remains roughly constant and that when the total population increases the number of mental defectives increases, too.