asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about his plans to improve social service provision for the mentally handicapped.
Joint planning and collaboration between the statutory authorities is crucial for the improvement of mental handicap services. The overall aims are to develop co-ordinated health and social services in each locality, and to achieve a major shift from institutional care for mentally handicapped people to a range of community care.We scrutinise health authorities' plans as to the extent to which local authorities have been involved in planning services and are involved in operations. District health authorities have been enabled to make continuing annual payments for as long as necessary to local authorities and voluntary organisations for people out of hospital moving into community care. Joint finance allocations, which will amount to about £100 million this year, are available to pump-prime social services and housing and education for mentally handicapped people among other vulnerable groups, and we shall spend £16 million up to March 1988 on our care in the community pilot projects, including some £7 million on 11 projects for mentally handicapped people.The Department's plans for improving services include continuation of an extensive programme of research; the administration and assessment of projects approved under the children's initiative for getting mentally handicapped children out of hospital; grants to voluntary organisations; and encouragement of the development of joint in-service training of staff.The national development team for mentally handicapped people will continue to advise health and local authorities, on request, on the implementation of mental handicap policies and its reports of visits after 1984 will be published.Careful consideration is being given to the detailed recommendations of the recent report of the Social Services Committee
* and we welcome its wholehearted endorsement of a policy of community care for mentally disordered people.
[* 2nd Report of the House of Commons Social Services Committee on Community Care with Special Reference to Adult Mentally Ill and Mentally Handicapped People. 28 February 1985.]