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Mentally Handicapped Persons

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults there are in each of the health and social services board areas in Northern Ireland.

Routine statistical data do not enable the identification of those clients who are profoundly mentally handicapped. The total number of young mentally handicapped clients in contact with the Social Services Departments of the Health and Social Services Boards at 31 December 1984 is set out in the following table.

Health and Social Services BoardMentally handicapped children (aged 0–15)Mentally handicapped young adults (aged 16–24)Total
Eastern463520983
Northern272337609
Southern225262487
Western271228499
Northern Ireland1,2311,3472,578

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what was the budget allocation of each of the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland for the provision of care and services to profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults and their parents; and what proportion this represented of their total budget;(2) how much each of the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland spent on the provision of care facilities and other services to profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults in each of the last five years, for which such figures are available; and what proportion this represented of their total budget.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what care facilities and other services for profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults are provided for in the budget of each of the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland;(2) what provision is made for daytime nursery-care of very young and profoundly mentally handicapped children in each of the health and social board areas in Northern Ireland.

Mentally handicapped people of all ages and degrees of handicap have access, in common with the rest of the population of Northern Ireland to a range of general health and personal social services. In addition, at 31 December 1984, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 118 day care places available in Northern Ireland specifically for mentally handicapped children aged 0–4, 957 places for those aged 5–15 and 982 places for young adults aged 16–24. Within this provision, the available information does not enable those who are profoundly mentally handicapped to be identified.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what provision is made for short-term care of profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults in each health and social services board area in Northern Ireland;(2) what guidelines his Department has as to a recommended level of accessibility of short-term care facilities for profoundly mentally handicapped children and young adults, in terms of numbers, bed places, and in terms of distance to travel;(3) what summer recreation schemes are provided by each of the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland.

No specific guidelines have been issued by the Department of Health and Social Services but Health and Social Services Boards have been asked to include the profoundly mentally handicapped in determining priorities for the development of services for the mentally handicapped.Short-term respite care is provided to varying degrees across the Province for mentally handicapped people of all ages and varying degrees of handicap. Short-term residential care is provided in some mental handicap hospitals and residential homes as appropriate on a year round basis. Alternative ways of providing families with a break such as short-term fostering schemes are being developed in some areas. In addition, during the summer holiday period, some short-term care is provided in holiday homes and summer camps. Day time activity schemes, some of which are run in co-operation with voluntary organisations, are also available in some areas. Details of these schemes are not held centrally.