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Mental Patients (After-Care)

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the numbers and percentages of mental patients released from mental homes under his control in Scotland during each of the last five years; what provision was made for their after-care; and what records were kept of their lives after their release and with what results.

The total number of patients discharged from mental hospitals in Scotland rose from 4,443 in 1949 to 5,888 in 1953. With permission, I will circulate details and percentages in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The care of patients discharged to guardianship in private houses remains the responsibility of hospital authorities. In other cases, where a discharged patient's own doctor needs help in providing any necessary aftercare, this can be obtained by attendance at an out-patient clinic, by seeking the co-operation of a psychiatric social worker, or by enlisting the aid of a voluntary organisation.

YearTotal DischargesCertified PatientsVoluntary Patients
19494 4431,313 (40)8483,13011485
19504,7441,324 (33)8503,42012086
19514,9291,280 (30)8503,64911582
19525,5321,270 (21)8504,26211984
19535,8881,271 (23)8494,61711786


(1) The figures in brackets are the numbers of patients (included in the total) placed under guardianship.
(2) Number of patients discharged expressed as a percentage of the number of patients in the appropriate class in hospital at the end of the year.
(3) Number of patients discharged expressed as a percentage of the number of patients in the appropriate class admitted during the year.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many homes there are in Scotland under his control for the after-care of mental patients; where they are situate; what is their accommodation; how many patients they accommodate; and how many they now contain and of what type.

If the hon. and learned Member has in mind a form of care distinct from that afforded by a hospital or under guardianship, the provision of accommodation for the purpose, so far as appropriate to public authorities, would rest with local authorities rather than with me. There are at present no such homes in Scotland, nor has any provision been made by voluntary organisations.

As the Secretary of State's reply seems to be rather vague, may I ask whether he realises the therapeutic value of such after-care work? Will he give some attention to it, in the interests of the patients and of the community at large.

ment is often essential to complete the cure as well as being of great scientific importance, if records are kept? Are records kept?

I am afraid that I have no comprehensive information to give in reply to the last part of the question.

Following is the information:

I agree about its importance. I said that it was a matter for the local authorities or voluntary effort.