asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what were the numbers of residents aged between 16 years and 64 years in local authority residential accommodation for physically handicapped, mentally-ill or handicapped and elderly people at the latest date for which figures are available and at the same date in each of the three preceding years; how he accounts for the changes in numbers; and if he will make a statement.
The following are the numbers of residents aged over 16 years and under 65 years in local authority accommodation in England at 31 March for each year:
|(i) physically handicapped||5,907||5,559||4,962||5,227|
|(ii) mentally ill||2,380||2,579||2,764||2,469|
|(iii) mentally handicapped||8,000||8,548||9,138||9,522|
The low figure for physically handicapped residents in 1980, and for mentally ill residents in 1981 are probably statistical artefacts, resulting from changes in the collection of figures.
The overall changes are consistent with Departmental policies for the increased support of dependent people in the community rather than in hospital, in their own homes wherever possible, but if necessary in residential care. The trend away from long-term hospital care for mentally ill and mentally handicapped people has resulted in a net increase in local authority residential care as well as in the open community, whereas for physically handicapped people improvements in the domiciliary support available appear to have enabled a net reduction in residential care.