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Ex-Psychiatric Patients

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment if there are ex-psychiatric patients in England and Wales who are no longer receiving psychiatric treatment and who are still unable to obtain employment.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is not available in the form requested, but at 13th April 1978 there were 5,686 unemployed registered disabled people classified as suffering from psychiatric disorders.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he considers that present legislation is satisfactory in protecting the ex-psychiatric patient against employment discrimination.

The Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 includes a provision that an employer who does not satisfy the basic quota obligation and who discharges unreasonably a registered disabled person commits an offence. The Act is punitive against the employer but does not provide for compensation or reinstatement of the discharged person. However, this protection under the 1944 Act applies only to disabled people who have registered under the terms of the Act. I understand from the Manpower Services Commission that few people who have suffered from mental illnesses apply for registration.The legislation on unfair dismissal applies to ex-psychiatric patients as to other employees. The Government and the Manpower Services Commission are concerned to see that people who have suffered from mental illness are not discriminated against in finding and keeping employment. The view of the Commission, which is supported by the National Advisory Council for Employment of Disabled People is that persuasive methods are likely to be the best way of improving employment prospects for disabled people—including those who have suffered from mental illness.