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Mental Health (Research)

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the need for expansion of research work in the treatment of the mentally sick, he will consider appointing a national research director to co-ordinate and expand the local work already being done.

In accordance with the recommendations in the Report on "Clinical Research in Relation to the National Health Service" a Clinical Research Board has already been appointed by the Medical Research Council, in consultation with my Department, to advise and assist the Council in promoting clinical research including research into the treatment of mental illness. No further appointments seem to be called for.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of elderly people who are suffering from senile decay have been certified as mentally deficient, and that the certification that they are mentally defective reflects on their sons and grandsons who, when they go abroad, cannot land if they cannot prove that they and their forebears were free from any mental disease? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter?

I recognise this problem but it is a different one from the one mentioned in the Question.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable concern at the fact that there is not nearly enough research into mental health? Is he aware that the Mental Research Council has devoted only 1 per cent. of its total expenditure since the war to research into mental health, and does he not agree that that is totally inadequate? Whether or not the method suggested in the Question is the right way to deal with it, will he look into the matter?

Yes, Sir. I am concerned with the problem, but I do not think that the solution suggested in this Question is the answer.