asked the Minister of Health if he can now make a statement on the findings of the inquiry into a recent attack on a nurse at the Darenth Park Mental Hospital; and what steps are being taken to ensure more adequate supervision as well as reasonable care and attention of the patients.
I understand that the Hospital Management Committee have considered the practical aspects of this matter and have satisfied themselves that the staffing was adequate. Inquiry into the actual incident was held up by the absence of the nurse on sick leave and the trial of the man concerned. A final report is expected shortly and I will communicate with the hon. Member.
In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has said that he is satisfied that the staffing is adequate, is he not aware that for years there were three nurses to two wards, so that when one nurse went off for a meal each ward was still looked after? Under the present system, which covers this case, for 40 minutes in an evening one ward has no supervision. In view of the cases that have occurred, will the right hon. Gentleman not look at it again?
I am prepared to look at it again but, after all, a committee of inquiry sitting locally with special knowledge of the hospital has informed me that in their view the staffing arrangements are adequate at the present time.