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Calderstones Hospital (Discharged Patients)

Volume 640: debated on Monday 15 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Health how many of the 551 patients discharged from compulsory powers at Calderstones Hospital during the six months to 1st May, 1961, have asked to be released; and how many have now left.

Patients not subject to detention do not have to ask for their discharge; 53 were already on leave of absence; 11 others have left.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that 551 is an extremely high number and that the numbers he has given form a very small proportion of the total? Is he aware of the feeling in Lancashire that many people have been wrongly detained in Calderstones Hospital in the past and that special measures should be taken to discharge them?

These patients or their relatives can secure their discharge from hospital without formality, but, as the hon. Member realises, in fact they are in need of the treatment and care which they receive at the hospital. No doubt that is the reason why the great majority of the informal patients remain there.

With regard to the high number 551, as I said to the hon. Member last week, this reflects the change both in the law and in outlook which was enshrined in the Mental Health Act, 1959.