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Mental Handicap

Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1975

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to set up a National Development Group for the mentally handicapped.

The Scottish Health Service Planning Council and the Advisory Council in Social Work jointly are in process of setting up a programme group on mental disorder. I expect that this group will turn its early attention to mental handicap and therefore fulfil broadly the same rĂ´le in Scotland as the National Development Group in England and Wares.

I welcome the Minister's reply and I am grateful to hear it. Has he read the reports produced by the Scottish Society for the Mentally Handicapped and by the Mental Welfare Commission indicating a great need for joint co-ordination throughout Scotland to ensure that the mentally handicapped are fully catered for in all aspects of their life?

Yes, I have received those reports. It is too early to comment in detail on some of them. However, in 1972 a circular was issued identifying targets for the provision of hostels by local authorities. Unfortunately local authorities have not responded as quickly as we hoped. Some have reached only approximately 20 per cent. of the target for residential provision for the handicapped in the community.

Will my hon. Friend finally use his influence on the Leader of the House or on whatever authority may have the power to institute a debate on the Melville Report, whether it be on the Floor of the House or in the Scottish Grand Committee? Is it not time that we discussed that report, which is rapidly gathering dust on the shelves in Westminster?

My hon. Friend is wrong, at the end of his remarks, to say that the report has been gathering dust. In fact, one part of the report has been carried into legislation, albeit by Private Members. Debates on the Floor of the House or elsewhere are not matters for me, but no doubt my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council will read my hon. Friend's remarks in Hansard.