asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest available figure for the total number of people living in hospitals for the mentally handicapped; and what percentage has been in hospital for (a) 10 or more years and (b) 20 or more years.
It is estimated that on 31 December 1976, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 48,773 patients in hospitals and units for the mentally handicapped in England. The corresponding figure for Wales was 2,303. Reliable information about mentally handicaped patients who have been in continuous hospital residence for 10 years or more can be obtained only from censuses. The results of the last census held at the end of 1970 showed that 67 per cent. of all mentally handicapped patients in hospital in England and Wales had been in continuous hospital residence for 10 or more years and 42 per cent. for 20 or more years.