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Mentally Handicapped Persons

Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what action he is taking to enable mentally handicapped children who do not need medical care to return from mental handicap hospitals to homes within the community;(2) what action he is taking to enable mentally handicapped adults who do not need medical care to return from mental handicap hospitals to homes within the community.

It is the policy of the Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Services that only those persons in need of medical or nursing care should remain in hospital. It is fully recognised that due to the shortage of residential home places in the community some mentally handicapped persons have tended to remain in hospital longer than they should.Consultations are now complete following the issue of the Consultative Document on Services for the Mentally Handicapped in April 1976, and a policy document on the future development of services will be published shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the number of children in hospitals for the mentally handicapped in Northern Ireland.

On 31st October 1977 there were 171 children under 16 years of age in hospitals for the mentally handicapped in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the number of adults in hospitals for the mentally handicapped in Northern Ireland.

On 31st October 1977 there were 1,316 adults in hospitals for the mentally handicapped in Northern Ireland.