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Discharged Service Personnel (Rehabilitation)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1943

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the development of the scheme by which personnel discharged from the Services on grounds of neurosis or temporary instability can receive appropriate rehabilitative treatment; whether any residential centres have been established; and which Government Department will be responsible for its working?

All cases of personnel who are being discharged from the Services on the grounds stated in the Question are considered by the Ministry of Pensions and, where appropriate, medical treatment, including rehabilitation treatment, is provided for them either at Ministry of Pensions hospitals or at neurosis centres under the Emergency Hospital Scheme. These centres, 11 in number in England and Wales, and two in Scotland, are residential and are under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health for Scotland. For those not requiring, or no longer requiring, in-patient treatment, out-patient facilities and social help are available at clinics and through other mental health agencies conducted by local authorities or voluntary bodies. These latter services are not at present complete or fully co-ordinated, but are being developed under the auspices of the Board of Control as far as war conditions allow.

If an hon. Member wishes to pursue this matter with a particular Minister, which Minister will be the appropriate one to approach?

Is the Prime Minister aware that in a number of cases the men concerned are unable to take advantage of the facilities provided, because of the fact that the maintenance allowance for their homes while they are in hospital is insufficient to keep the homes going?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is no power to compel a man suffering from neurosis to take treatment, and that there have been many cases where men suffering in this way have been sent to prison?

I am not aware of that. I should have thought the point would have been raised in the course of any proceedings in court, and brought out fully, and the case would then come up. As to compulsion, that would raise a much wider question than I could deal with by an answer to a Question.