Napsbury Mental Hospital

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th August 1972.

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Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford 12:00 am, 8th August 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether as a result of his consideration of the case of the death of Mrs. Green in Napsbury Mental Hospital, he has now decided to hold a full-scale inquiry into conditions there.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

As the hon. Member knows from my recent letter, I have decided, after consultation with the North-West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, to arrange for an independent professional investigation into medical and nursing practices on certain wards at Napsbury Hospital.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

I have not yet received the right hon. Gentleman's letter. What is against his having a full-scale inquiry on the lines of the Whittingham Hospital inquiry? It can only be beneficial. If the nurses have been using only reasonable force to restrain violent patients, they should be cleared. If, on the other hand, they have been getting annoyed and cuffing patients indiscriminately, something should be done about it. In either case, it will be beneficial to have a full-scale inquiry.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

The fact is that the rather serious number of complaints concerning Napsbury Hospital over recent times have been almost entirely connected with a small number of wards. That is why, rather than distract and divert the work of the whole hospital, about the vast majority of which there have been no complaints, I have decided to have an investigation made into the wards concerned.

Photo of Dr Thomas Stuttaford Dr Thomas Stuttaford , Norwich South

Does my right hon. Friend understand that everybody concerned with medicine in this country is grateful for the acknowledgement which he shows that conditions in mental hospitals are rather less than satisfactory? Does he realise that this situation will not be improved until we have adequate nursing staff, adequately paid, in adequate buildings?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

Yes. I should like to take this opportunity, in replying to my hon. Friend, to pay tribute to the devotion and zeal, in the interests of the patients, of the overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses involved.