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Mentally Retarded People

Volume 655: debated on Monday 5 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Health whether, under his regulations, it is obligatory on local health authorities to keep a record of mentally retarded people.

If there is no proper record taken of mentally disabled people, how is it possible for local health authorities to find out what the requirements are in their areas?

Most local authorities do, in fact, keep such a record, but there would be no point in making it obligatory since total ascertainment is a variable concept. But I have no doubt that local health authorities keep the records which they require to carry out their statutory duties.


asked the Minister of Health how many local authority health services are still without provision of centres or other facilities for training or occupation and the equipment and maintenance of such centres, as provided for in Part II, Section 6 (2) (b) of the Mental Health Act, 1959; and if he will make a statement.

Is it not a national scandal that, in this modern age, children are being born into this world who are mentally retarded and must enter manhood without having had a day's proper training? Is the Minister aware that "training" is the operative word? We have people with the ability to make these youngsters and young men fit to take a proper place in life among the fraternity in general. Will he not do something for them? After all, they are the children of ratepayers and taxpayers, but are, in many instances, receiving no training at all.

As my reply indicated, something is everywhere being done, and in Command Paper 1604 an indication was given of the scope for expansion. I hope that the plans which local health authorities will be putting to me in the coming months will show the way in which they intend to develop this service in the coming years. I share with the hon. Gentleman his view concerning the great importance of this service.