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Mental Hospitals

Volume 889: debated on Monday 24 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many square feet of space there are per patient in the living quarters in all National Health Service psychiatric hospitals.

This information is not available. However in 1973, the latest year for which statistics are available, over 90 per cent. of in-patients in hospital and units for the mentally ill and men-ally handicapped in England and Wales had at least 50 sq. ft. of night space and 30 sq. ft. of day space.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in how many mental hospitals there is overcrowding, according to the criteria used by her Department.

At the end of 1973, the latest date for which figures are available, 142 hospitals and units for the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped in England and Wales had not met for all in-patients the Department's minimum standards of 50 sq. ft. of night space and 30 sq. ft. of day space. However, as I explained in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) today, the proportion of inpatients affected was less than 10 per cent.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what expenditure would be necessary to overcome the lack of basic resources, considered a necessary minimum, in mental hospitals in Great Britain.

It is not possible to make reliable estimates centrally of the cost of achieving all the minimum standards set for hospitals for the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped. However, the cost of employing the additional medical, nursing and domestic staff, chiropodists and dentists still required at the end of 1973 to achieve the relevant standards in hospitals for the mentally ill in England is estimated to be between £1½ and £2 million per annum at current earnings levels.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when she expects the new mental hospital at Park Lane, Liverpool, to be completed.

It is proposed to complete the hospital in phases and on present information the expected date of completion for the first phase is 1980 and the second approximately one year later.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied with the frequency of inspection of psychiatric hospital kitchens and the standards found on inspection.

The frequency of inspection is a matter for arrangement between the environmental health officers and the health authorities concerned. The Association of Environmental Health Officers has been asked for notification to my Department if there are any difficulties in gaining access to hospital catering arrangements or delay in carrying out the recommendations of its officers; none has so far been received from psychiatric hospitals.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many 12- to 17-year-olds are detained in adult wards in mental hospitals in England and Wales.