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Psychiatric In-Patients

Volume 890: debated on Monday 14 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, having regard to the entitlement of in-patients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals to a non-contributory invalidity pension, if under pensionable age, and to Category D retirement pension, if over 80 years of age, she will ensure that the Supplementary Benefits Commission takes over responsibility from hospital authorities for providing pocket money of £2 a week, in 1974 terms, to all patients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals aged between 60–65 and 80 years.

This is being considered sympathetically but must be set in the context of the other work commitments for the Department's local offices.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many long-stay patients there are in psychiatric hospitals aged between pensionable age and 80 years; how many are receiving pocket money at the same rate as that received by patients in other long-stay hospitals, how many at a lower rate and how many are receiving none; and what is the full rate now paid to long-stay in-patients below pensionable age, and above the age of 80 years, respectively.

The best estimate that can be made is that there are over 30,000 such patients who have been in hospital for one year or more. Information is not available centrally about the number who receive less than the standard pocket money from hospital funds. This allowance is £2·30 irrespective of age, and is at the same level as the social security personal allowance.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, having regard to the entitlement of inpatients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals to a non-contributory invalidity pension, if under pensionable age, and to Category D retirement pension, if over 80 years, she will exercise powers under the appropriate section of the Social Security Benefits Act 1975 to confer entitlement to pocket money of £2 a week, in 1974 terms, to all such in-patients between 60–65 and 80 years.

I do not think that extension of either of the two benefits mentioned would be approriate for this purpose.