asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, if, in the light of the overcrowding at the special hospitals, he can explain how patients are admitted under Section 60 of the Mental Health Act 1959.
Patients are admitted to the special hospitals under Section 60 of the Act where the conditions of the Section are satisfied, and where, in the opinion of the Secretary of State for Social Services, they require treatment under conditions of special security on account of their dangerous, violent or criminal propensities. This sometimes entails a regrettable degree of overcrowding, though in general the number of patients in the special hospitals has been somewhat lower in the past year than in recent years. The building of the fourth special hospital at Park Lane, Maghull, Liverpool is intended to alleviate overcrowding.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average waiting time for a room in each of the special hospitals.
Information in terms of waiting time for allocation of a single room is not collected. The allocation of patients to single rooms in the special hospitals depends on factors other than length of time since admission, for example, clinical needs and security requirements.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many of the 184 patients held in the special hospitals and awaiting transfer to National Health Service hospitals are held in each of the four special hospitals; and, in each case, how many are men and how many are women.
The following table shows the position in each of the special hospitals:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) which National Health Service hospitals are refusing to accept patients from special hospitals; and, in each case, if the opposition comes from (a) the staff, (b) the trades unions or (c) other sources;(2) how many hospitals, by name, have refused to accept those 57 patients in the special hospitals who have been awaiting transfer for between one and two years, the 17 patients awaiting transfer for between two and three years, and the 11 patients awaiting transfer for more than three years.
The circumstances vary with each individual case and are often complex. It will take some time to collate information from the many health authorities concerned, and I will write to my hon. Friend when this is available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take further steps to activate the transfer to National Health Service hospitals of those patients in the special hospitals awaiting such transfer.
I am aware of the disappointment and frustration which a wait for transfer, and particularly a long wait, can cause. The difficulties involved in overcoming opposition to accepting transfer patients are complex, as I explained in my reply to my hon. Friend on 16th June—[Vol. 933, c. 266]—and vary with each individual case. There is a considerable task here for management at all levels and there is no quick or easy answer. Officials of my Department review these cases regularly and will continue to press health authorities to overcome the difficulties.