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Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 18 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why patients who suffer from agoraphobia, and other severe phobias, are not advised to register as disabled persons; and if he will make a statement.

I assume my hon. Friend has in mind the provision for registration as a disabled person under Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948, as extended by Section 8(2) of the Mental Health Act 1959. I am not aware of any general advice to patients suffering from phobias on this subject. Under the statutory provisions, a mentally disordered person of any description may be registered as disabled. Registration is not, however, a prerequisite for receiving services under Section 29, as extended by the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. The need for any particular services under the 1970 Act is for the local authority to decide in the light of individual circumstances. Section 1 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 requires local authorities to inform themselves of the number and needs of persons in their areas to whom the above-mentioned Section 29 applies, and to publish general information on the services they are providing under Section 29.